Is it worth it?

Thread starter #1

Israel

Senior Member
ucfireman's thread kinda got me questioning certain matters of RV quality. There are quite a few articles vociferously denouncing the general lack of craftsmanship in construction of many, while the bells, whistles, and gee gaws get a lot of attention instead.

Now, any concern of mine about quality might be laughable to you as you watch me visit Harbor Freight twice a month, but I do consider myself practical, nevertheless. My need for the occasional specialty tool, whose necessity may be pressing but whose use will be infrequent, keeps me from shopping Snap On or Proto. But I think you understand...simply...best bang for the buck being weighed. And some matters just become moot. I'm as happy with decent laminate counter-tops as Corian.

My main concern, and correct me if it shouldn't be, is water infiltration. If you know something about a notoriously poorly wired RV, that could easily jump ahead on my list. I like fire less than I like a drip. But, across the board water seems a biggy. I owned an Allegro diesel motorhome almost 20 years ago, as ugly a brown box as could motate down the road; but it was chosen for its aluminum skin after having learned (and often seen) the irreversible ravages of fiberglass delamination and learned to spot it beneath windows even in its most incipient stages.

So, when ucfireman's thread turned from light enough 5th wheels to mention of Scamps, and Escapes and I became familiar with Casitas and Bigfoots, I was very taken with their construction, but also their price. It seems I can buy three "other" 20 something foot long trailers of 2008 or 2010 vintage for what I would pay for a used Bigfoot or Scamp. All these words for a simple question...what's best bang for the buck...? Any to definitely avoid?

Resale is usually my last consideration when buying something used, I'm fixing my brakes today on my 2002 Town and Country with 215K on the odometer and plan on driving it as long as minor maintenance allows (I don't want to You Tube "Repair and Rebuild of the Town and Country Transmission") but I will, and have You Tubed "Replacing the A/C compressor" and am delighted I can freeze myself out of that dinged up, but well running, headliner drooping, soccer mom's substitute for a pick up truck. The Lord knows how many 10-12 foot 4x4's I have carried in it.
 
I think newer camper trailers are all over priced ! They just don't make em like they they did when they had metal siding and roofs that the common man could work on ! A leak.....I reckon all campers anymore are notorious to leak ! And it don't take much of a leak to total one !!
 
Thread starter #3

Israel

Senior Member
I see that Escapes are priced quite a bit lower than Bigfoot and with exchange rate that base 5th wheeler can be had for about 24K (USD) new. Does anyone own one?
 

Capt Quirk

Senior Member
Don't forget waste back up. The toilets just aren't as good as they should be.

Is this something you will use a lot, or just want to travel once in a while? I might recommend a rental over purchase, just to avoid long term maintenance when it will spend most of it's time parked and taking up space.
 

bany

Senior Member
Just never buy a Jayco anything. When all that can go wrong shows it’s ugly head the company is useless and refers you to go somewhere and have it fixed. No apologies, no suggestions, I was surprised the second contact didn’t just come out and say they are built to rot and fall apart or kept inside!
 

normaldave

Senior Member
A few (ok, a lot of), random thoughts...keeping in mind I researched nearly every brand available at the time, looking for the "mostest for the leastest" on a tight budget, and came up empty. I ended up converting/building my own gear hauler camper out of a new custom ordered enclosed cargo trailer. Haven't re-sealed my roof since it was new in 2012.

They don't make my dream travel trailer here in the US: Kokoda Caravan Cadet Platinum from Australia. Independent off road suspension, 3 bunks, small footprint.

Another company is importing the chinese-built "Black Series" brand trailers into the US, with a similar theme, but I'm still hearing mixed reviews.

Greg_n_Clayton summed it up, they don't build them like they used to...because "we" buy what looks good, and feels like home, without much regard to quality or longevity.

The Canadian Escape trailer is a perfect example of a small builder who has found a market niche, and a better mousetrap for those who are willing to wait for a build to order unit that you won't find on a dealer lot somewhere. Generally speaking, for me, if it came from Indiana on an assembly line, I'm out. A recent exception is InTech RV, but their trailers are pretty small. Sol is one to take a look at. Aluminum frame, floors walls, roof, one piece fiberglass roof.

The smaller builders seem to do better with quality, but it comes at a price, and they are not easy to get to. Outdoors RV and Northwood are examples. Traditional build structures, but heavier duty, and better quality and insulation, generally speaking. In the case of Outdoors RV, you'll pretty much have to go to the Northwest to see one and either pick it up, or have it shipped. They are pricey and heavy, but many folks do just that, "beat a path to their door".

On the Escape Trailers, if I was going new, and it had a floorplan I liked, it would be at the top of my list. I'd just make the long distance purchase part of the adventure. Spend some time cruising through the owner's forum where I found this neat build video.

Escape Trailer Owners
 

normaldave

Senior Member
I see that Escapes are priced quite a bit lower than Bigfoot and with exchange rate that base 5th wheeler can be had for about 24K (USD) new. Does anyone own one?
I noticed two Escape 21's in South Carolina on the owners map, Charleston and Columbia. Also Escape 5.0's in Newnan and Columbus GA. Usually the owners are happy to show their trailer to a potential new customer.
Escape Owners Map
 
Thread starter #8

Israel

Senior Member
I noticed two Escape 21's in South Carolina on the owners map, Charleston and Columbia. Also Escape 5.0's in Newnan and Columbus GA. Usually the owners are happy to show their trailer to a potential new customer.
Escape Owners Map
Thanks Dave, good info. That Kokoda is interestingly "tough" looking...

Was kinda funny, went with my bride to the local Camping World just to get a better feel for what's out there...and passed by a new unit (which I wasn't considering) and thought to take a feel of the "diamond plate" on the front I figured was there for anything that might get kicked up...and it was rubber. I guess they figure if it's got a diamond plate print to it...it translates to extra tough in the buyer's mind. Now, it probably does offer some added protection against debris...but...

If I was industrious as I may have once been (or is it just the fog of bad memory?) your idea of converting a cargo trailer is a pretty clever idea. But, since napping has gotten bumped up the list of priorities in the last few years...and every project turns into a 5 act drama, replete with tears "why, oh why, did I ever start this?"...cooler heads must prevail in my case.


I did see a 95 Airstream is in Fla in both my preferred length and price range but where I once would travel to Ft Lauderdale to just look at a boat, I got a feeling that road trip may not be in the offing, either.
But, that being said, I am enjoying all the input from you fellows, and I'll probably check this thread a little later when I wake up. Lord willing..I wake up.
 
Thread starter #9

Israel

Senior Member
Don't forget waste back up. The toilets just aren't as good as they should be.

Is this something you will use a lot, or just want to travel once in a while? I might recommend a rental over purchase, just to avoid long term maintenance when it will spend most of it's time parked and taking up space.
I've looked at rentals...and at least as a first time/few times...to see if the great grands are gunna like it as much as I hope. Just wanna hit a Lake (Hartwell, Keeowee, Hiwasee?) before it gets too cold. They keep asking "Boompah are we really going camping, when are we going camping?"

But I also know it can easily turn to something else, so yours is a very fitting suggestion. Seeing as how I have seen a few that would fit our bill for 100/night (and in some cases 75$)...it's a way cheaper way of testing the waters. And I wonder more (as my wife often suggests) I am just trying to recapture the joys I've known sipping morning coffee next to a fog laden lake just as the sun comes up.
 
Thread starter #10

Israel

Senior Member
I guess one other question I am almost embarrassed to ask...slides?

I'm no fan of less space than more... especially if children are gonna be underfoot at times...but I also realize there's a downside to all that...(and a fiberglass/Airstream will easily rule that out) but if I do find a "steal"...will I only regret it regardless?
 
I have lived in an Airstream, and it was nice... at first. These really aren't meant for the daily grind of life. As I said, the sewage system doesn't hold up, as well as miscellaneous issues. And even better, they really aren't meant for you to work on them. They put things together with hardware you can't find tools for. You are forced to take them to "authorized repair centers", that are nowhere close to you, and pricey. Rent one, and leave the worries to somebody else.
 

ringorock

Senior Member
I have a Coleman Clipper 17bh. It's small, but that keeps us and the kids outside and not in, which is the point of camping. We got it after our larger hybrid delaminated on all 37 sides. The quality of the camper is great for our uses, and we use it a lot. Our dream camper is a Grand Design 5er, but we're in no hurry. Grand Design makes great campers, by the way. Everyone I know that owns one loves them.
 
Thread starter #13

Israel

Senior Member
I have lived in an Airstream, and it was nice... at first. These really aren't meant for the daily grind of life. As I said, the sewage system doesn't hold up, as well as miscellaneous issues. And even better, they really aren't meant for you to work on them. They put things together with hardware you can't find tools for. You are forced to take them to "authorized repair centers", that are nowhere close to you, and pricey. Rent one, and leave the worries to somebody else.
Well, that's good to know. Stuff in need of occasional repair is fine, but when I discover it's made to purposely thwart the DIYer, yeah, I don't need that.

Again, I appreciate the input and experiences.
 
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Here's one of the few traditional travel trailer brands that stands out to me as a decent value. Winnebago bought the former Sunnybrook RV during the last recession to get into the travel trailer business. They kept a lot of the Sunnybrook features that made them "a bit better", but also left a few behind.

2018 Minnie Plus 27BHSS used

They have Class A coach quality fiberglass high gloss exterior, Quality Bal frames by Norco, (most others use Lippert), Lots of nice build features that are just a step above the usual industry stuff. This one is a bunkhouse, with a slide, it would do better with a 3/4 ton (2500 series) tow rig, or equal.

Side note, Winnebago also bought Grand Design, another manufacturer that I would say is just above the normal, especially in terms of customer service.

I think, at the end of the discussion, we know we are not promised tomorrow here on earth, and grandkids get to be teenagers pretty fast, and interests often turn elsewhere, (preaching to the choir), so I say "get camping" in some form or another soon, and share your knowledge and influence with them in God's great outdoors.

This is a dealer up North, who does a good job with an educational walk-through video. Here is a identical trailer to the above. (He sounds like Clark Howard, consumer advocate!).
 
Thread starter #15

Israel

Senior Member
Here's one of the few traditional travel trailer brands that stands out to me as a decent value. Winnebago bought the former Sunnybrook RV during the last recession to get into the travel trailer business. They kept a lot of the Sunnybrook features that made them "a bit better", but also left a few behind.

2018 Minnie Plus 27BHSS used

They have Class A coach quality fiberglass high gloss exterior, Quality Bal frames by Norco, (most others use Lippert), Lots of nice build features that are just a step above the usual industry stuff. This one is a bunkhouse, with a slide, it would do better with a 3/4 ton (2500 series) tow rig, or equal.

Side note, Winnebago also bought Grand Design, another manufacturer that I would say is just above the normal, especially in terms of customer service.

I think, at the end of the discussion, we know we are not promised tomorrow here on earth, and grandkids get to be teenagers pretty fast, and interests often turn elsewhere, (preaching to the choir), so I say "get camping" in some form or another soon, and share your knowledge and influence with them in God's great outdoors.

This is a dealer up North, who does a good job with an educational walk-through video. Here is a identical trailer to the above. (He sounds like Clark Howard, consumer advocate!).

I think, at the end of the discussion, we know we are not promised tomorrow here on earth, and grandkids get to be teenagers pretty fast, and interests often turn elsewhere, (preaching to the choir), so I say "get camping" in some form or another soon, and share your knowledge and influence with them in God's great outdoors.
Yes.

Although we are essentially raising them daily, when they return from the weekend they look...bigger!

We did just recently get a decent deal on a RAM 2500 (5.7 Hemi, not Diesel) and I'm good to GCWR of 15K (which I plan to stay as far under as possible) unless I switch out rear axles. At the first we really were thinking almost exclusively of 5th wheelers...but unless I go gooseneck and smallish, (which is why the Escape looked great) I sacrifice the bed's use for much else...and most of the used trailers I see are probably about 20% cheaper than comparable 5th's. That's why I am now more inclined toward a 24-28 foot tow behind.

On both your and Ringorock's recommendation I did check out Grand Designs, they obviously hold good resale. Now to see if I can find anything in Minny plus that might be available used.

It may have been Renoir who said "if you would be a painter cut out your tongue", but I still enjoy talking/thinking about camping too much with you fellows, enjoying all the input.
 
Thread starter #16

Israel

Senior Member
Thread starter #18

Israel

Senior Member

T-N-T

Senior Member
I keep mine under a shelter. If I couldnt do so, I wouldnt own one. Cant leak if it doesnt get rained on. It gets rain on trips some. But I am able to inspect the roof at my leisure this way and keep ahead of issues. If you keep one in the yard, you are wasting your money.
 
Thread starter #20

Israel

Senior Member
I keep mine under a shelter. If I couldnt do so, I wouldnt own one. Cant leak if it doesnt get rained on. It gets rain on trips some. But I am able to inspect the roof at my leisure this way and keep ahead of issues. If you keep one in the yard, you are wasting your money.
Good advice.

As to that...do you think a tarp with ventilation allowed for (I could build a frame to keep it up off the roof itself)...would suffice?
 
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