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Anyone with opinions on Camper Trailers?


Original Post
La MoMoface · · Arvada, CO · Joined Apr 2008 · Points: 60

My hubby (a non climber) and I have spent the last year circling Van conversion/slide in camper/tow behind, etc. We've been tenting and sleeping in the back of the Taco, but we're looking for more of a home so we can easily bring our 3 dogs along and really road trip.

At this point, we're feeling a SMALL tow behind trailer. Our Taco is a short bed, so a lot of slide in options are out (we DON'T want a pop up, or a tear drop. Ideally, no bathroom). 

I'm looking at  a 16' Scamp this weekend. Does anyone have any feels on that brand? Are there other mini trailer models/companies I should look at? I'm an impulsive person, apt to fall in love with the first thing I see, so any sage advice on what to look for is appreciated. 


TL,DR: We're DINKs and this seems like a fun way to spend money.

Gold Plated Rocket Pony · · Boulder, CO · Joined Jul 2007 · Points: 91

Huh, a brand new Scamp still looks like it's from the 80s or maybe it's just cool retro? https://www.scamptrailers.com/showroom/16-standard-trailers/16-standard-trailers-layout-3.html#!Scamp_13ft_Standard_Layout1_03

I've got no helpful information but have thought about this a lot an have determined there is no perfect setup, some down-side to all options unless you got tons of $$$

La MoMoface · · Arvada, CO · Joined Apr 2008 · Points: 60

I think even with tons of money, there's no one option - some days you want a school bus sized RV, other trips you just want to sleep in the back of your car.

I just got off the phone with Scamp - a brand new 16' with options is $17k which sounds super cheap to me (relative to other options), especially since I reckon that includes crap I don't want, like a cable TV hookup. I'd prefer a 13' but with that you have to make your bed your table every day, where the 16' has two 'table' options. 

Mark E Dixon · · Sprezzatura, Someday · Joined Nov 2007 · Points: 568

You might want to look at T@b trailers.

They have an "offroad" model, but I'm not convinced it's really any more robust than the regular models.

From what I've read online, trailers and rough roads don't mix that well.

Will be curious to follow your experience.

Barry M · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Nov 2017 · Points: 0

I’ve thought about buying a duel axel cargo trailer and building what the wife and I want. Not feeling any of the commercial options. 

Tomily ma · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2011 · Points: 295

“$17k sounds super cheap” FTW!

La MoMoface · · Arvada, CO · Joined Apr 2008 · Points: 60
Tomily ma wrote:

“$17k sounds super cheap” FTW!

When you see used Sprinters with crappy build outs listed on Craigslist for $31k...yeah. 

Will Handy · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2016 · Points: 0

I recently wen through a similar process and ended up with a Lance truck slide-in camper... but I have an F350, which makes a big difference. 

Do you want to use it in the winter? if so, pay a lot of attention to the insulation, double pane windows, heating system, and plumbing's freeze resistance. Insulation in most campers is terrible, but some special made "4 season" models are a big improvement.

Good call on getting something big enough that doesn't require converting the bed every day. Those little things end up driving you nuts after a few days.

a.l. · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2008 · Points: 5

I towed and lived out of a 16' Scamp on a project in Alaska one summer. They are simple, roomy inside, tow nicely and are quite light. I haven't looked at trailers for years, so can't make a comment on the price, but I've seen used ones pop up for sale once in a while-most people seem to take pretty good care of them,  so that might be an option

Arjun Dongre · · Newton, NC · Joined May 2008 · Points: 0

Check out rustictrailteardrops.com. Locally owned NC business, and Jonathon is really friendly. He builds and sells for a fraction of the national brands. 

La MoMoface · · Arvada, CO · Joined Apr 2008 · Points: 60
a.l. wrote:

I towed and lived out of a 16' Scamp on a project in Alaska one summer. They are simple, roomy inside, tow nicely and are quite light. I haven't looked at trailers for years, so can't make a comment on the price, but I've seen used ones pop up for sale once in a while-most people seem to take pretty good care of them,  so that might be an option

That's great to hear. I'm actually looking at a used one, and it becomes a math problem of is it worth X more to get  a new one that's built to my specs? I'm leaning towards buying the used one, and if I effing love it I'll resell and buy a custom one.  If it goes the way of my canoe, which was used twice and took up permanent residence behind my house, then I'll sell it and stick to the back of my subie. 


I'm just a camper noob, and don't know if Scamp is a good brand, reliable, etc etc. Love that they're made in Minnesota - so adorable. 

Mark E Dixon · · Sprezzatura, Someday · Joined Nov 2007 · Points: 568

Friends bought the Airstream Basecamp and had lots of quality problems.

Would advise against. Plus really expensive.

Roy Suggett · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2009 · Points: 6,887

Get a double axle trailer.  You can then tow more (reduces tongue weight) with what you have.  

Dow Williams · · St. George, Utah; Canmore, AB · Joined Mar 2006 · Points: 240
La Momoface wrote:

That's great to hear. I'm actually looking at a used one, and it becomes a math problem of is it worth X more to get  a new one that's built to my specs? I'm leaning towards buying the used one, and if I effing love it I'll resell and buy a custom one.  If it goes the way of my canoe, which was used twice and took up permanent residence behind my house, then I'll sell it and stick to the back of my subie. 

Here is the deal on that.  Despite the economy and how it might affect auto and home prices (both bullish), for whatever reason, the RV industry is still fractured enough (there has been some consolidation since the last recession) to be incredulously competitive.  You are on the right track in that it is many times more feasible to buy and own a trailer under 2500lbs vs a build out van of any kind.  Comparing apples to apples, sure you can buy an old chevy van for $10K, but you can buy an old trailer for $2500.  New to new, no comparison.  I spend 150 days on the road in one of these small trailers.  First one, I paid $17K.  Sold it at the end of 4 yrs for $14K. Turned around and bought another new one for $14K, a much upgraded model?!  Not the brand you are talking about, but 18'  hard wall fold downs.  They are not durable and don't get fooled into buying one sold that it is.  The suspension on anything in this price range will never hold up on 4x4 or washboard roads.  You have to go slow and set up, then leave it whilst you run around in the haul vehicle.  Another advantage over a van, if you use a 4x4 to haul it, you can maneuver places like the Ghost Wilderness in Canada much easier.  Don't be embarrassed to negotiate with these guys, they are so competitive and often have their places right next to each other.  Do not try and order one from the factory, you think you will save money by eliminating things you do not need, but it simply does not work that way.  This industry is all about getting product on the lot and then getting if off the lot.   Same with horse trailers.  I have to order my horse trailers direct because we are animal rights type folks and need a much fancier horse compartment then even the rick are willing to pay for.  I pay twice as much for this luxury (customizing and ordering direct).  They all come with tv hook ups,etc.  Trying to order one without is just going to cost you way more than the savings.  These factories turn these things out like donuts.  Despite being fairly cheaply made, they are easy to work on yourself and you have more peace of mind than running around in a $100K sprinter van with an expensive diesel engine.  Good Luck.

La MoMoface · · Arvada, CO · Joined Apr 2008 · Points: 60
Dow Williams wrote:

Here is the deal on that.  Despite the economy and how it might affect auto and home prices (both bullish), for whatever reason, the RV industry is still fractured enough (there has been some consolidation since the last recession) to be incredulously competitive.  You are on the right track in that it is many times more feasible to buy and own a trailer under 2500lbs vs a build out van of any kind.  Comparing apples to apples, sure you can buy an old chevy van for $10K, but you can buy an old trailer for $2500.  New to new, no comparison.  I spend 150 days on the road in one of these small trailers.  First one, I paid $17K.  Sold it at the end of 4 yrs for $14K. Turned around and bought another new one for $14K, a much upgraded model?!  Not the brand you are talking about, but 18'  hard wall fold downs.  They are not durable and don't get fooled into buying one sold that it is.  The suspension on anything in this price range will never hold up on 4x4 or washboard roads.  You have to go slow and set up, then leave it whilst you run around in the haul vehicle.  Another advantage over a van, if you use a 4x4 to haul it, you can maneuver places like the Ghost Wilderness in Canada much easier.  Don't be embarrassed to negotiate with these guys, they are so competitive and often have their places right next to each other.  Do not try and order one from the factory, you think you will save money by eliminating things you do not need, but it simply does not work that way.  This industry is all about getting product on the lot and then getting if off the lot.   Same with horse trailers.  I have to order my horse trailers direct because we are animal rights type folks and need a much fancier horse compartment then even the rick are willing to pay for.  I pay twice as much for this luxury (customizing and ordering direct).  They all come with tv hook ups,etc.  Trying to order one without is just going to cost you way more than the savings.  These factories turn these things out like donuts.  Despite being fairly cheaply made, they are easy to work on yourself and you have more peace of mind than running around in a $100K sprinter van with an expensive diesel engine.  Good Luck.

Oh totally, the actual cost of dropping $8500 on a reliable used e250 esque van and building it out was getting me into the $12k+ territory, so suddenly a ready-to-use camper for a little more where I don't have to stare at every imperfection I committed during my build out is more and more worth it! Thanks for sharing :)

Señor Arroz · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2016 · Points: 10
La MoMoface · · Arvada, CO · Joined Apr 2008 · Points: 60
Arjun Dongre wrote:

Check out rustictrailteardrops.com. Locally owned NC business, and Jonathon is really friendly. He builds and sells for a fraction of the national brands. 

Oh man those are so cool! I think too small for us and three dogs, but I'm so in love.

Chris Horton · · St. George, UT / Encampment… · Joined Jul 2010 · Points: 265
Señor Arroz · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2016 · Points: 10
Arjun Dongre wrote:

Check out rustictrailteardrops.com. Locally owned NC business, and Jonathon is really friendly. He builds and sells for a fraction of the national brands. 

Those are amazing for the price. What's their reputation in NC for durability? At the price difference it's almost worth paying to have one shipped west.

La MoMoface · · Arvada, CO · Joined Apr 2008 · Points: 60
Mark E Dixon wrote:

You might want to look at T@b trailers.

They have an "offroad" model, but I'm not convinced it's really any more robust than the regular models.

From what I've read online, trailers and rough roads don't mix that well.

Will be curious to follow your experience.

I might be renting it out as a way to pay for gas for all of these trips ;) 

Mark E Dixon · · Sprezzatura, Someday · Joined Nov 2007 · Points: 568
La Momoface wrote:

I might be renting it out as a way to pay for gas for all of these trips ;) 

Yes! 

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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