While I am not a solo camper, I am female and have owned and traveled extensively with my husband in a 13' basic Scamp since we purchased it new in 2011. We are now in our 70s and continue to enjoy our trips whether short or long in distance/time.
There is a LOT to learn when towing for the first times. Do not hesitate to ask forum members, including me, and people who live close to you. There are just some things best learned in person. You'll find lots of videos on the Scamp website as well as on YouTube that address camping with a trailer or RV. The good news is that the "mechanics" of hooking up, driving and maneuvering into your campsite are "old school" and relatively simple, except backing up. However, each step is IMPORTANT for safety's sake!
We, too, chose our trailer AFTER we bought our tow vehicle. At the time it was a Subaru Legacy sedan. While the car towed fine we do wish we had known these things ahead of purchase.
- the hitch would not be installed by Subaru. We went to UHaul to have our hitch installed. They "forgot" to connect the "pigtail" plug to the trailer lights!
- The control unit for the electrical plug was installed next to the steering wheel in the cab. I am 5'4" and my driver's seat needs to be close to the steering wheel. My knee touched this control, making for uncomfortable driving.
- The hitch was too close to the asphalt resulting in scraping/screeching when going over bumps or steep inclines.
Knowing to look out for these issues, three years ago we purchased a new Mazda CX-5, a compact SUV. We did consider staying with Subaru with the Crosstrek (actually a raised up version of the Legacy), which I expected to LOVE, but I just did not like the driving experience. That said, you may love your Crosstrek and it may perform well for you in towing. I do believe that the road clearance issue will not exist as it is higher than the Legacy (check for this). I think Subaru only offers factory-installed bicycle hitches (without all the electrical
components). While many say you do not need a separate braking system for a 13' Scamp, I would definitely recommend it. There's no getting around it, non-factory installed hitches are just plain ugly. At least the car manufacturers make an attempt to subdue the visual intrusion of their hitches. I had to learn to "get over it". I suggest you talk to your Subaru dealer/mechanic AND the people who will install the trailer hitch/braking system and grill them before
you purchase the trailer.
For the benefit of others reading this posting, the Mazda is great to drive, manages towing way better than the Legacy, is comfortable for we older folks, and has more than adequate room for all the stuff one brings camping. We went to a positively reviewed private company to install the hitch system. When ordering the non-factory installed hitch we were given the choice of a hand-held (when not driving) electronic brake control which plugs into the "cigarette lighter" outlet in the car's dash. This has turned out to be a great option.
As others have said, the BASIC 13' Scamp is the way to go with your Crosstrek as a TV. We were so concerned, at the beginning, about the comfort of our Scamp. As it turns out we are very comfortable with the 13'. If we think of the Scamp as a hard-shelled tent then we can accept the basics of camping. (You'll notice that my "handle" is the "Gleeful Glamper", but that's because I like to decorate my Scamp). You can look up my postings on this forum." When I say "BASIC", we only added the drawer, a heater (very nice), an outdoor plug (we have never used) and the icebox (While lighter it would be nice to have a quiet fridge
Dining in a Scamp
- When the weather is fair, which it is on most trips, we keep the bed set up as a bed all day/night. We have a simple breakfast while sitting on the "sofa" (use a small cafeteria tray on your lap or a small folding TV tray), a packed lunch in our daypack while on the trail and dinner at the campsite picnic table (use those cafe trays again to bring meals to/fro). We rarely set up the trailer table unless we are facing days of inclement weather.
Potty in a Scamp
- The included Porta-Potty is adequate for night-time (number 1 only). Most campgrounds have at least an outhouse or toilet for (daytime use) and you can "sponge bath" easily. You ARE camping after all. You may ask me the finer points of the "toilette" by sending me a PM (private message).
Water Supply in a Scamp
-We don't even fill up the on board water tank any more. We keep a 5-gallon insulated water jug with spigot on a small folding table outside the trailer and fill smaller, one liter, bottles to be used inside the trailer for cooking, washing dishes and ourselves.
Hooking Up a Scamp
- This is the area that can be a little more difficult if you are not a strong person. You will have to get on the ground at times to look at what you are doing. If your Crosstrek has a backup camera you should be able to back up the car to the hitch without incident. It's always better to have someone spot and direct you from outside. Connecting the trailer hitch to the car receiver ball sometimes requires "muscling" to "jiggle" the two into a secure hitch mode. We put a wheel on the front post of the hitch so that the trailer could be moved a bit from side to side. It's still tricky and we have some difficulty installing/removing the wheel as the post that holds it does not go high enough above the asphalt. Don't believe anyone who says it's easy to push a Scamp into place. To be safe, you should always have your wheel chocks in place so the trailer does not end up moving on it's own! It's rare that your trailer will be on an absolutely level pad.
Maintaining a Scamp
We have had our Scamp for 10 years and there has been little in the way of maintenance to do. Be sure to check the Scamp website for the care of a Scamp and follow every bit of advice for safety's sake. Most of the postings on this forum are from people who are either repairing or modifying their trailer. If you purchase new you won't have any big surprises in the repair realm.
Storing Your Scamp
- Yes, it's always better to pamper your Scamp by storing it indoors or under a roof. We live in a part of California where the weather is mild. We live in a small house with a one car garage and one car driveway and two cars. The Scamp will not fit in the garage. Renting an RV storage space is expensive where we live. We chose to store our trailer one hour away in outdoor storage as it is reasonably priced and no indoor spaces could be found. Most importantly, the managers live on site and they provide excellent security. Yes, it's a bit of inconvenience to visit our trailer and to comply with the hours of operation but we've made it work. We must admit that we did not keep up with washing and waxing the trailer and the gelcoat did wear off to a point of no return, meaning if we tried to replace the gelcoat the permanent streaks would show. Going forward, we decided to wash the trailer in a self-serve carwash and spray with the wax they include. As a result the resale value will not be as high, but we don't anticipate parting with our dear 13' Scamp anytime soon.
Well, it's time for me to wrap up my comments. I, for one, encourage you to look into the pros and cons of owning a camper trailer. PM me with any questions.