Trails West Campster weight - Fiberglass RV


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Old 05-10-2020, 06:07 PM   #1
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Trails West Campster weight

My first post! These are all before/pre-sale pictures; just in case you were wondering if that snow was from Phoenix

I’ve owned this since December 2019, but my buddy met me halfway so I could pick it up in March 2020. It was near Reno. He was at a gas station with his “Hunter II” when a fella walked up to him and asked him if he wanted another one.... which he replied “I don’t but my friend in Phoenix does!” I plan to do a whole frame-off restoration, though it’s in decent shape and I may take it out this summer for a trip to confirm what I want to do different with it, if anything. But I did want to start with a piece of useful information. I’ve researched these a bit and several posts on the inter-webs wherein people are selling them they say “it only weighs 800 pounds!“ I’m no expert (on anything), but common sense was telling me these don’t weigh 800 pounds. I found one post, where a person said his weighed 1300lbs, which included some of his gear and that felt about right.

I just weighed mine at a CAT scale yesterday (what truckers use) and sans water, propane, food, clothes, or any other camping gear my “Trails West Campster” weighs: 1140 lbs.
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Old 05-10-2020, 06:56 PM   #2
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I have a copy of an original add showing a Campster towed by a bug. I don't think it says anything about weight. You might be able to find it in the documents section of this site.

One key weight factor is what kind of previous mods have been done that might have added weight. Mine weighed in at around 2500 with gear for two. But, it's been heavily modified, new frame, storage on the tongue, and completely rebuilt inside. I think it's safe to say that weight was not the highest priority to the person that did the rebuild.

Have fun with it.
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Old 05-10-2020, 07:09 PM   #3
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Awesome, thanks Dave!
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Old 05-10-2020, 07:35 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeCool View Post
My first post! These are all before/pre-sale pictures; just in case you were wondering if that snow was from Phoenix
Welcome Joe,

There's no pictures on your post. There is a sneaky little "upload" button that needs to be mashed after selecting pictures. Following this, you can watch the upload process complete, sometimes slowly.

Here's a post explaining the process with more detail.

https://www.fiberglassrv.com/forums/...tml#post217275
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Old 05-11-2020, 12:38 AM   #5
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Pics
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C13F4501-356B-4593-B0E5-8247071F55C0.jpg   DEE39BFF-9792-40CC-9760-C2EACD062D17.jpg  

C22BFA59-FC4F-45A6-B631-56CF51C3F267.jpg   B32FC614-0AA6-47B5-B768-D13C9F49049F.jpg  

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Old 05-11-2020, 06:47 AM   #6
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Just a caution on weighing on CAT scales. You have to take multiple weights, as if it is hooked to a tow vehicle, the TV carries part of the trailer weight in the form of tongue weight. My Trillium 1300 axle weight was a little over 1300 pounds. Got a second weight to identify tongue weight, and ended up a little over 1500 pounds. This with no propane.

+10 to some of the ridiculous weights people claim. None have actually weighed their trailer. Its always: "someone told them", or "they saw it somewhere", or an old brochure, or whatever.
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Old 05-11-2020, 09:05 AM   #7
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There's nothing noted in the Trails West Camper brochure that speaks to weight


https://www.fiberglassrv.com/forums/...p?do=cat&id=35
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Old 05-11-2020, 09:15 AM   #8
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That's the one I thought was there. Thanks Donna.
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Originally Posted by Donna D. View Post
There's nothing noted in the Trails West Camper brochure that speaks to weight


https://www.fiberglassrv.com/forums/...p?do=cat&id=35
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Old 05-11-2020, 09:20 AM   #9
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I see your tongue comes out straight while the picture in the brochure shows it rising. It would be interesting to diagnose if yours has been modified or if they changed Trailswest changed the frame at some point.

I'm also curious to know the state zndcserizl number on the plate next to the door.
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Old 05-11-2020, 09:53 AM   #10
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Frederick has gathered some Hunter weights, which may be comparable here: https://www.fiberglassrv.com/forums/...rld-43010.html
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Old 05-11-2020, 11:28 AM   #11
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https://www.fiberglassrv.com/forums/...cture9441.html
The link above is to an image of a newspaper interview with the owners of the company that made the Trailswest Campster. In the article it is stated the Campster weight is under 1,000 lbs. I do recall seeing elsewhere in a document where the weight was stated as being just under 900lbs. But remember that there were available upgrade options for the Campster including a compressor fridge instead of an ice-box without a motor. Another available option was to have a propane furnace under the sink. Both of those items would have increased the weight of the unit over the basic. Who knows for sure if they included the weight of a 12v battery and a propane tank both of which would add to the weight. The original 12v battery was likely quite a small one, only meant to power a couple of small 12v light fixtures, no modern electronics around in 1971, no cell phones to charge, no tablets, no TV or built in radio, etc.


So "under 1,000 lbs" rolling off the assembly line is quite likely a realistic figure. With options being available I am sure they did not want to be held to an absolute number in the newspaper article or in the brochure.

I think you can trust that number as it was provided by the makers of the Campster to the reporter who interviewed them.
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Old 05-11-2020, 11:41 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Dave Fish View Post
I see your tongue comes out straight while the picture in the brochure shows it rising. It would be interesting to diagnose if yours has been modified or if they changed Trailswest changed the frame at some point.

I'm also curious to know the state zndcserizl number on the plate next to the door.
If you look closely at the photo you can see that the tongue structure appears to have been modified. It is a real cludge of various pieces of metal, definitely it is not the original structure. Of course the tongue on the Campster in this newspaper article is also not how most of the ones I have seen look but it is a real Campster and those are the owners of the company standing next to it so there were some changes made in the design of the frame. I have seen some that did not have a riser and some that did but I have never seen one in this forum that was a match to the one in the newspaper article. It has a change in the frame structure to raise it up right as it comes out from under the trailer body. https://www.fiberglassrv.com/forums/...cture9441.html
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Old 05-11-2020, 03:19 PM   #13
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Thanks all!
FYI on the CAT scale, the Campster was too light to weigh on its own. So I had to weigh both trailer & truck (rented U-Haul truck) and then just truck and subtract. I second what a couple people have said, be careful when you weigh. And yeah, could'a been just under 1000 off the line. FYI, I have the ice-fridge.

Part of why I'm looking into this is my VW bus has a tow limit of 1300lbs (no trailer-brakes) or 2400lbs (with trailer brakes). Since I want to do a frame-off, I'm seriously thinking about adding a different axle so I can do e-brakes.

Attached is a picture of the plate - it's completely faded but you can see the number: 63319. What is this number?
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Old 05-11-2020, 03:20 PM   #14
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Plate next to door
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Old 05-11-2020, 03:30 PM   #15
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That might be an Oregon serial number. If so, it might match your title. Mine is a Washington plate relating to Labor and Industries. My number is 0199, which I've always assumed was the build number.
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Old 05-12-2020, 08:38 AM   #16
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My friends helped me build a new frame for my Campster in the fall of 2019. I did get a brand new Dexter axle with brakes on it. The tubing on the frame itself is also more substantial as the original frame had gotten bent upwards in the A frame tongue section. Another modification was to add in more diagonal bracing and a reinforcing plate at the bend to form the A frame.



I suspect a previous owner had overloaded the trailer at some point in time. But it had also been sitting for many years being used as a storage shed with leaks to the interior so water was coming from the interior and running down the sides of the bolts that attached it to the frame, on into the tubing of the frame, rotting it out over a number of years. So not a repairable frame. My frame is heavier but I took out all the 3/4" plywood cabinets and replaced them with much lighter weight cabinets so that more than offset the weight change in the frame and the addition of the brakes.


If you are going to change the frame I would suggest making it so that you can use a larger diameter tire size when you create a new frame. That will give you more ground clearance.
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Old 05-12-2020, 11:37 AM   #17
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KC has a lot of good counsel concerning how to address the trailer. However, you will be challenging your VW's capacities even more as the total weight of the trailer increases. This will make having trailer brakes especially important.

Some things to consider will include adding wiring for a seven-pin connector in order to operate trailer brakes, what sort of hitch you will use including how well it is connected to the frame, and the allowable tongue weight. I have seen figures ranging from 55 to 100 lbs allowable tongue weight.

As a rule of thumb, tongue weight is recommended to be some 10 to 15% of the trailer's total loaded weight in order to maintain stability and avoid dangerous "sway".

These are all things that I think you will find more information about on VW forums. While I can think of a few members here who have mentioned TDIs, I don't recall seeing much posted here concerning air-cooled VWs.
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Old 05-12-2020, 12:07 PM   #18
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KC, Iíve read all of your posts and feel a little bit like a fanboy!

Civil guy, thanks! yes I am on VW forums pretty regularly, the main site we use is called ďThe Sambaď.
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