Newbie deciding on16’ or 17’ casita - Fiberglass RV


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Old 09-03-2018, 10:33 PM   #1
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Name: Kari
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Newbie deciding on16’ or 17’ casita

Hi! First post here! First post on ANYTHING I might add. Thought I better reach out and try to get some answers. I live in Colorado close to lots of state parks and BLM land. We do quite a bit of camping. The sons are off doing their thing (17 and 20) and only camped once with them this year. Now the hitching up and towing falls mainly on myself and SO. Time to downsize to something I’m more confident towing. I currently have a small hybrid camper with popout tent ends. Awesome space, but too boxy and wide with heavy tongue weight. I tow with a 2015 4Runner. I’ve been really pining for a Casita and would probably buy new. The lift and 15” tires is a must, which rules out scamp. Bathroom? Yes please.
My concerns are the washboard roads and washout areas. I always take them slow, but still quite a bit of rattle. Will the newer rubber torsion suspension and lift help with that? Should I consider the 16’ over the 17’? I’ve heard the 17’ has a bit of flex from the axle to the tongue since it’s a greater distance. But oh my, Casita makes it hard to want the 16’. No screen door? Little fridge. Boohoo. But alas, my main concern is towing. I need to feel comfortable. I find I won’t go out as much just thinking about towing my current box. No likey. If the shorter axle helps with maneuverability, then I’d go that route. Have NEVER used AC here (above 8000’), so not concerned about losing that. Plus, I pretty much only dry camp. Would appreciate any advice /input. And thank you to those who patiently endured the ramble. Btw... I’m also a little skeptical about the high hitch weight. I have a 4700-5000 lb tow rating with a 500 lb tongue weight. Thanks guys!
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Old 09-03-2018, 10:41 PM   #2
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we have (soon to be had) a casita 16 spirit deluxe.

the 16's fresh water and grey water holding tanks are just way too small for 2 people for more then a couple nights of dry camping.

the 16's roof is only 5'10 or something inside, i'm 6' tall, head bump.

hardly never used the a/c, so really don't care either way (16 has a smaller AC unit)

the other big reason we moved away from the Casita was the bed was just too cramp for our two plus-sized 60+ bods. someone has to climb over the other to make that 1am bathroom run.
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Old 09-03-2018, 10:55 PM   #3
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I hear ya about the bed! Add two dogs to the mix as well. �� The water isn’t an issue as it’s only 7 gallon difference. Can bring that in the tv and drain the gray water if needed. How has yours heldup on the roads? Do u ever get close to bottoming out? My camping friends have tabs, but they are way too pricey and don’t like all of those bells and whistles. Translates to expensive fixes.
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Old 09-03-2018, 11:11 PM   #4
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oin the casita 17 there's optional larger water + grey tanks. to me, those are a must-have.

our Casita 16 has 14" wheels and no lift, I've only taken it on very well graded dirt roads, like fire roads, or the black rock playa (once)

our new trailer is an Escape 21, it has 15" wheels with dual axles, 4800 lbs GWR, 28 gallon water + grey tanks, great big fridge w/ freezer, actual queen bed, stove with an oven. just got back from a week at a music festival...
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Old 09-03-2018, 11:24 PM   #5
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Why did I know you went to an Escape? Haha! I really should revisit them. I want something for the long term that holds up too. I’ve heard great things about Escape! No rivets got my attention. I think they are lighter too? Congrats!
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Old 09-03-2018, 11:44 PM   #6
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Why did I know you went to an Escape? Haha! I really should revisit them. I want something for the long term that holds up too. I’ve heard great things about Escape! No rivets got my attention. I think they are lighter too? Congrats!

There are rivets. They just aren't used to fasten heavy items, like cupboards, to the shell. Rivets are used for light weight items like vents.

You should view the build video on the Escape Trailer Industries site so you understand why the Escape build is superior to many others.


Escape Trailer Industries – Chilliwack, British Columbia
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Old 09-04-2018, 04:55 AM   #7
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Welcome to FGRV Kari. You camp like I do 99.9% boondock. The tongue weight on your tug is fine for any 17' Casita along with it's tow ratings. There are a few differences between the Casita 16/17s. Bigger fridge, water and holding tanks and the biggest thing to me is the flat door/screen for sealing. If the 16 had those I'd say go for it. From my 50 years of towing experience you're not going to see any difference with an extra foot for flex with normal driving. I added a 3" lift kit from Orbital Machine Works only because I needed a bit more clearance for some of the places I go. I'm still running 14" tires too. Great item and quality I might add. From what your looking for, seems like any of the Casita 17s would be a good fit for you plus there a LOT of them out there and come up for sale often. Good luck to you in your search.
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Old 09-04-2018, 09:38 AM   #8
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Name: Kari
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Thanks! I sure find myself heading down a rabbit hole with options. Escapes appear better built, but the Casitas are easier to find used and cheaper to buy new. I’ also spent about an hour checking out Northern lite truck campers before I reigned myself in. 40k plus and no truck! But awesome fiberglass truck camper nonetheless.
My concern remains maneuverability and clearance . I read about others experiences of everything shaking loose after long dirt roads. I wonder if they are being too rough or if perhaps, the casitas aren’t meant for that kind of travel.
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Old 09-04-2018, 10:31 AM   #9
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If you do consider Escape, don't forget the favorable Canada dollar exchange rate.
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Old 09-04-2018, 11:35 AM   #10
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16 or 17 Foot

I would go with either a 16 or 17 Foot Casita but don't get a lot of options. No A/C, furnace, or awning. That will drop the weight. You are towing with a SUV so weight will be an issue on most. My observation awnings are a thing that most people don't seem to use. A/C is another. You can carry along a space heater. The vinyl floor is nice along with all LED's. The 16 is made for people less than 5'10" but will be easier to tow. Remember less is more.
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Old 09-04-2018, 11:52 AM   #11
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[QUOTE=Kjean;715020] Escapes appear better built, but the Casitas are easier to find used and cheaper to buy new.

I know. However, there was no option for a bed which didn't require us either to climb over the other, or be climbed over for access to the BR in the middle of the night – unless you go to the 5th wheel (I don't count the 21' because part of the bed is lobbed off and neither of us is petite, and the door opens into the sleeping area), however there's still some crawling that needs to be done to get OOB (out of bed), and neither of us is getting any younger.


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My concern remains maneuverability and clearance . I read about others experiences of everything shaking loose after long dirt roads. I wonder if they are being too rough or if perhaps, the casitas aren’t meant for that kind of travel.
Get the aftermarket shocks. It makes a huge difference. Our wait from delivery to our Little House Customs appointment was nearly a week, in which we moved around a number of times, partially because I had lost a filling as soon as we got to Dallas, and had to go back to the dentist to get the permanent crown. Everything was shaking around before the shocks, and I was reclosing doors and picking loose and semi-loose items up every time we stopped. After we got the shocks, we rarely had more than one or two items at a time shake loose or fall, though the tv did come off the mount (no idea how much of that was pre-shock shaking though).

As I understand it, if you got the Casita high lift, you could add the aftermarket to it if that weren't high enough.
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Old 09-04-2018, 01:49 PM   #12
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The US dollar exchanges makes the Escape less pricey than I thought! However, I wouldn’t go bigger than the 17. That bed is a couple of inches smaller than the Casita. Yikes! We are mid/late 40s and fairly small folk so the height wouldn’t be a big deal. Never used AC and a good max air fan is perfect up here. A heater is a must. Chilly mornings 10 months out of the year. The no screen would suck bc I have dogs that I can lock in but need to see out. The fridge is my big ugh. The less storage another ugh. The lack of option for two 6v batteries another ugh. But those things seem modifiable. Is that a word? However, I DID read that someone suggested making an appt and heading to little house customs straight from Casita. I will call him and see what things are doable. They make storage boxes to weld to frame I’m sure.
Here in Colorado, there are SO many campers on the road that I feel obligated and safer to make a smaller footprint.
This weekend was nuts and I was mortified by the blatant disrespect towards our national forests. People left an entire campsite full of stuff. Tent, tarp, clothes. We were on the lookout for a dead body! Sheesh! So, I just want a small, reliable, safe camper that I can enjoy for years to come as well as something I feel confident towing. And I keep coming back around to Casita.
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Old 09-04-2018, 01:58 PM   #13
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One other note... a lot of the options on Casitas seem to come standard on Escape. The extra mods I would get from little house customs as well as Casita options might just come in close to a bare bones Escape. Food for thought. I will definitely have to run the numbers of both. Thanks for brainstorming with me. You are good folk!
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Old 09-05-2018, 05:22 AM   #14
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i feel compelled to defend the casita 16'er. my sd is a 2012 and i've addressed most of the complaints folks have about the baby casita. the first mod was to install a 40 gal grey tank. it's the same tank used on the 17'and it's labeled "40 gallon" altho casita only manages to use 32 of those available gallons. this swap was performed by lhc. i ordered mine with the hi lift axle using 15" tires and then added the after market shock kit from oem to stop the annoying bounce that caused the cabinet doors to open while underway. i built a screen door (a bifold that folds against the fridge cabinet). i travel solo and am a bit vertically challenged so the smaller bed and "low" interior headroom are a non issue for me. as delivered the 16'er is a bit tongue light. the omw over the tank carrying a honda 2000 generator and that additional weight takes care of the tongue weight issue. i will admit that the small fridge remains an unsolved issue and i've gotten used to using a cooler to add more space to keep stuff cold. the small front mounted air conditioner works well and has the added advantages of lower height of the trailer and...when it dies i can replace it with a low cost window unit from the big box home stores.

my choice of the smaller trailer was mostly an aesthetic decision. that curved door is just so darned cool. and yes, i've spent $ for all the mods but, i have the trailer i wanted and it works really well for me. besides, working on the rig is something i enjoy when not traveling.

one note about little house customs...larry gamble is retiring at the end of this year so if you expect to have them mod your trailer you should act quickly. even tho he's hanging up his wrenches you'll still be able to order the many kits, parts, etc from the online store.

p@
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Old 09-05-2018, 08:47 AM   #15
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Name: Kari
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i
one note about little house customs...larry gamble is retiring at the end of this year so if you expect to have them mod your trailer you should act quickly. even tho he's hanging up his wrenches you'll still be able to order the many kits, parts, etc from the online store.

p@
Oh that’s a bummer about Larry! I wouldn’t be able to take ownership of a new Casita till February and even then, I would wait till May simply bc of the inevitable spring snowstorms in the Rockies. Well, one of the reasons I would like the 16’ IS bc of the AC being low. I can foresee me using an AC
only on the rare occasion of traveling to warmer climates. Most times I stay close to home as I’m still employed full time. Thanks for your input. I like the low profile and the smaller footprint. The fridge is the downfall, but am used to bringing coolers and such.
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Old 09-05-2018, 12:21 PM   #16
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Hi all! I emailed Larry and he is indeed retiring at the end of year. He said that Orbital machine works will take over some of the installation for the items they manufacture. He also stated that he will post that info on the Casita forum as plans become more solid. . Hope that helps with some future planning for others. I
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Old 09-06-2018, 06:34 AM   #17
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Trailer: 2018 Casita SD 17'
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My "shake down" outing inadvertantly took the Casita 17 footer through some pretty rough state forest areas - and I mean a full day of seriously jarring roads. Even with the optional lift and 15" tires, I scraped the jack post and bumper a couple of times crossing some washed out intersections. Didn't pop any rivets, nothing broke, and everything still worked although a couple window latches worked to the open position and it took in some dust. I have full confidence in the trailer. While it was a great test of the trailer and systems, I hope I never find myself in such predicaments again navigating northern Michigan state forest "roads".
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Old 09-06-2018, 12:39 PM   #18
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Name: Kari
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That’s beautiful country! Glad to hear the Casita held up well! The rocks, washouts and burms created by ohvs here require some tricky maneuvering. I suppose it’s not much different than anything else. Go slow and keep your eyes open! I’m always amazed at how many Motorhomes and fifth wheels make it thru those areas.
The first mod I will make is shocks for sure!
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Old 09-06-2018, 07:38 PM   #19
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Name: Ed
Trailer: Casita 17 ft SD
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16' or 17' Casita

My wife and I have camped all over Colorado with our 17 foot Casita. Most of our camping is above 9,000 Ft. We raised the Casita four inches so I could install 15 inch tires for some of those BLM camp grounds and some of the Forest Service camp grounds. We do a lot of dry camping. I installed an 80 Watt solar panel to keep that battery charged. Raising the Casita also helps in the setup because there is more room under the stabilizing jacks to get them down and locked when the camp site is not level. 25 gallons of potable water goes a long way if you eat in a way that does not require washing dishes after every meal. When the road gets rough you slow down, when you have washouts you go really slow. The furnace gets a lot of use at night, a bit noisy but we get used to it. We are in COS.
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Old 09-06-2018, 08:25 PM   #20
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Name: Kari
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Ehoepner, I was hoping someone from my neck of the woods would reply. Thank you so much! I live in Woodland Park and every now and again catch a glimpse of a casita going the opposite way on the pass. I’ve never seen one up close so if ur ever passing by this way, and would be willing to stop and meet I would love that. I also work in COS. When the boys want to meet up and dirtbike, we usually wind up around Badger Flats or Wagon Tongue out past Lake George. But those areas have gotten quite rowdy and we have been on the lookout for quieter areas. Rampart has had a few weird and creepy incidences and I won’t even camp there anymore. I never thought I would feel the need for a sidearm but won’t camp without these days.
On another note...
I called Scamp today and the older gentleman didn’t sound too “on board” with any kind of lift or tire replacement. Plus, they are booked out till October of 2019! Sounds like Casita is the way to go for the lift options. Again, SO nice to hear your Casita does well out here. Have you added any shocks? I saw that Orbital Machine Works makes a steel bracket that fits over the black pipe that hangs down. Might be worth looking into. I’ve just been abuzz researching and researching all of this and think I’m ready to pull the trigger. Thanks for your info! Everyone here has been so very helpful.
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