Molded Fiberglass Camping Trailers

My first view of a molded fiberglass trailer was a Burro owned by my wife’s Grandpa Aubrey back in the 1980’s.  Burros were manufactured in Iowa from 1978 to 1986. This isn’t  Aubrey’s trailer but it looks a lot like that one.

Sometimes,molded fiberglass trailers are called eggs, due to their curved shape and white appearance. Over 50 different manufacturers have made molded fiberglass trailers over the years.

What do I like about fiberglass trailers?  The material is light and strong. Fiberglass trailers are made in molds with the two halves fitted together along the midsection or belly of the trailer.  Are fiberglass trailers leakproof?  No, because anywhere there’s an opening, such as an air conditioner, window, or vent, there’s the potential for a leak.  But that’s true for stick built trailers also.  What you don’t have are seams in the roof.  Now that I look at the photo though, it looks like Burros were made with the seam running right down the middle of the roof.   All of the ones that I’m considering are made with the belly seam.

One thing different about buying fiberglass trailers is that you are buying directly from the manufacturer.  Most of the companies are small family businesses that do not have a dealer network.  Advertising budgets are small.  It’s not uncommon for customers to meet the president of the company when picking up the trailer.

It’s time for the top three contenders.  I would be happy to own any of these three trailers,

The second runner-up is the Scamp, manufactured in Minnesota.

This is an older Scamp 16 that was posted for sale.  You can see the seam on the midsection that fits the two halves together. Scamp has different sizes in fiberglass trailers: 13′, 16′, and 19′.  The largest is a fifth wheel trailer.  We like the 16′ size because you can get a dedicated bed and a dedicated table. The deluxe model of the 16′ trailer starts at $20,000 and includes a great list of standard features, including all wood cabinets, shower/toilet, configuration for separate bed and table, and interior height of 6′ 3″.

Scamps have great resale value.  If we had a problem, the Scamp factory is a long day’s drive from our home.  Scamps are well insulated.  I’ve even seen them used for ice fishing houses.  Scamps are so popular that if you order one now, delivery won’t be made for about a year, given the high demand and back orders.

Why did the Scamp come in third?  The design for Scamp is time tested, but the features are dated compared to the two trailers coming in first and second.  Additionally, Scamp allows very little customization.  There is no solar power option at this date.  Reports of quality control are mixed, although most people love their Scamps.  Finally, rivets are used extensively in the Scamps. I’m not fond of rivets.  Having said all that, if a good deal locally came up on a used Scamp, I just might pull the trigger.

The first runner-up is the Little Snoozy,manufactured in South Carolina.

Again, the fiberglass seam runs along the midsection.  The Little Snoozy has the most modern design of the fiberglass trailers that we considered.  The rear entry door is a very nice feature, which allows long items to go inside without having to make it around a tight corner (compared to the side door of the Scamp).  The air conditioner is on the back, rather than the roof.  That make the height of the trailer more manageable to fit into garages.

The interior is amazing.

The bed is large.  The jackknife sofa in the living room is a nice alternative to the standard dinette table.  The windows and wood cabinetry are very attractive and functional.  I like this trailer a lot.  But there are a couple of “features” that are holding me back from pulling the trigger on ordering a new one.

First, the Little Snoozy does not have a black tank.  You can either get a portapotty or cassette toilet.  In either case, you are hauling the waste to a toilet rather than dumping the black tank at a dumping station.  This is personal preference, but I prefer the black tank.

Second the Little Snoozy is not designed to take advantage of propane.  The refrigerator is electric.  The stove is electric.  For camping off the grid, this is a huge disadvantage.  Little Snoozy does not offer installation of solar as an option although some customers have added it themselves. Some customers have even added propane later.  If I was only going to camp at campgrounds with electric hookups, this would be my first choice.  If I bought this trailer, I would add solar and maybe change out the refrigerator for one that was more efficient.  I would pack a propane stove. It’s too bad.  I really like this trailer.  Little Snoozy trailers start at $21,500.

And the winner is….the Escape 17B from British Columbia, Canada.

There are so many things I love about this trailer that’s it’s hard to know where to start.  I know.  Let’s start with the negatives..  It’s made in western Canada–about a three-hour drive north of Seattle, Washington.  That’s a long ways to go to pick up the trailer. It’s also a long ways to go if I need the manufacturer to do any work on the trailer.  Finally, I have no idea what’s going to happen to the cost of importing a trailer under the current Trump administration.  I also have no idea what’s going to happen to the value of the American dollar vs the value of the Canadian dollar.  The price of the Escape is in Canadian dollars.

Now that all of the bad stuff has been disclosed, let’s move on to what I like about the Escape 17b.  I’ve been following fiberglass trailer user forums for about six months. Escape owners stand out because really love their trailers.  They love the quality. They believe in the owners of the company.  They get excited about Escape quality control.  Escape owners get really excited about the customization and options available during the manufacturing process.

In my opinion, Escape has more options and amenities available than any other fiberglass trailer maker.  Installation of solar panel with charge controller.  Check.  A no rivet system.  Check.  Stainless steel sink and faucet.  Check.   Will install two 6 volt batteries.  Check.  Added wall insulation and window installation. Check.  Power awning.  Check. Furnace, refrigerator, stovetop, all capable of running on propane..  Check.

These three photos are from the ad for a rare used escape for sale.  These trailers are seldom found on the used market.  About the only time an Escape owner sells a 17B is to move up to an Escape 19 or 21.

What about cost?  That’s a tricky question, and it’s hard to compare apples with apples.  The Escape 17B starts at $27, 900 Canadian, which currently converts to under $21,000.  However, we all know that currencies fluctuate.  It wasn’t that long ago that the U.S. and Canadian currency had equivalent value.  Add the Trump wild card to import taxes/tariffs, and I’m not sure where this will all end up for the summer of 2018, which is when I want to have my fiberglass trailer.

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