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  1. #1

    Default Best small travel trailers?

    I have the road trip bug now - I am thinking about purchasing a small travel trailer that would work with my Subaru. I'm checking into the Scamp, but does anyone have other suggestions? I only need it to sleep two but would prefer a bathroom.

    Let me ask another question - as a single female in her 50's, what would be best for me to get without having to get a new car to tow? My Subaru can tow upwards of 3200 pounds. I'd rather get something that I can leave at the campsite and allow me to explore the area (that's why I'm thinking travel trailer) but I also saw that some people warned against them and suggested a class B motorhome.
    Thanks in advance!
    Last edited by MollyJones; 08-02-2021 at 11:05 AM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Central Missouri
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    5,694

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    Welcome!

    First thing, what type of Subaru do you have? What's its tow rating, poundwise? Is it equipped with a tow package?

    One little trick we learned when we were shopping for a trailer, albeit years ago (but it still applies) is the "slam trick". When you are in a rig that you think might work for you, shut a cabinet door HARD. If the cabinet seems like it's going to fall off, it might not be a solid enough rig for you.

    Another trick we learned: if it has its own bathroom, go into the bathroom, shut the door, turn around a time or two.

    Last word of advice: Before buying any rig, know where you're going to store it. Too many people have purchased a rig only to find it won't fit in their driveway, their HOA/CC&R's won't allow it in their driveway or yard, or there's no place in town to store it because they're full or way over the budget.

    I know a few of our regulars have travel trailers currently, and may be more help for what's out there now. Hubby and I traded in our 5W for the hotel/motel way of travel, a few years back.


    Donna

  3. #3

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    Can I ask why you don't do camping anymore? I thought that it was cheaper to do that rather than the motel way.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
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    13,735

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    I've got a custom made teardrop and I love it. It's basically a bed on wheels, with an outdoor kitchen. It's small enough that I can take it anywhere, including many places I'd never go with a full sized travel trailer, and park it in my garage.

    One thing it doesn't have is a bathroom, which is going to rule out most teardrops if that's essential for you.

    Scamp sounds like it would be a good choice for you. Casita is another company making a similar product. The T@G brand teardrops might be another option to consider as the larger ones have bathrooms. Just keep in mind, the hardest thing right now is finding anything. Small campers were in high demand before the pandemic, and like most RVs, demand has only grown. Having a 2 year wait-list to buy a new one isn't uncommon, and the used ones hold their value so they can seem very expensive when you do find one.

    As far as price, camping doesn't always save as much money as you might think. I'm currently camping in New England and even state parks are $30 a night for a primative site. You've also got increased fuel costs while towing. There are certainly times where staying at motels or Airbnb would probably work out as close to the same price, but there also is value in the camping experience.

  5. #5

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    Real camping, whether it is a tent or a simplified van camper, is much less expensive than hotel/motel. But when you jump up to various levels of sophisticated RVs then you cross over the price per night curve quickly and significantly.

  6. #6

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    Luckily, I know I can not do anything until 2023 so the waiting is no big deal. I do like the Scamp & the Casita. I will check out the Teardrops

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2011
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    Central Missouri
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    Quote Originally Posted by MollyJones View Post
    Can I ask why you don't do camping anymore? I thought that it was cheaper to do that rather than the motel way.
    Very good question, one that deserves an answer.

    I loved my 5W. For years we had been able to store it on some private property, pretty inexpensively. Over the 13 years that we owned the rig, it went from $70.month up to almost $150.month. We weren't using it very much in that last 3 years, because hubby didn't have the vacation time that would have made it worthwhile. So we made the decision to sell it.

    Do I miss it? Yes, because on long trips, I get tired of eating out. I loved knowing who slept on the bed the night before (us). What I don't miss was the storage fees and the upkeep.

    This might explain why I made the statement that I did, regarding storage. Before we left San Diego, I fielded many questions on our local social media forum regarding "cheap storage" from folks who bought a rig before they checked into local storage. In San Diego, "cheap storage" doesn't exist. As I said above, even the private land folks want $150/month.


    Donna

  8. #8
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    May 2011
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    Central Missouri
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    Quote Originally Posted by landmariner View Post
    Real camping, whether it is a tent or a simplified van camper, is much less expensive than hotel/motel. But when you jump up to various levels of sophisticated RVs then you cross over the price per night curve quickly and significantly.
    You speak the truth there - tents, van campers, or small towables (tent trailer, teardrop, Casita, etc) - will be far less expensive than a larger rig. First off, storage, especially tents, no problem. Small towables may be fine in your driveway, maybe even in your garage, if you have a house. Larger rigs may not fit in your driveway - our tent trailer (pop up) did, our 5W did not.

    Fuel mileage will also be affected. A small towable towed with a small car may affect your gas mileage. Our 5W was towed with an older diesel model and was lucky to get 8 or 10 mpg towing. My parents towed with a power-stroke diesel and their TT only "cost" them about 2 mpg in towing. We just towed a car halfway across the country with that same power-stroke diesel, and most of the time the truck was getting 14-16 mpg, except for one time with hot weather and a very, very long grade from desert up to Flagstaff (I-40 heading east from Barstow).

    Price per night - well, it is what you make it. If you don't require full hookups, you can get a spot anywhere from $12 up to $45. Full hookups can cost $25 up. Per night.

    Our costs - we travel mostly with that same power-stroke diesel, getting 15-18 mpg without anything behind us. Our overnights cost us anywhere from $50 up, depending on where we want to light for the night. The eating-at-restaurants can "getcha", but even that can be balanced out by carrying lunch stuff and your own drinks in a cooler, snacks in a snack bag, which we routinely do. That eating-out can get you in another way - your health. I have to be really careful about what I order at restaurants.


    Donna

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by Midwest Michael View Post
    As far as price, camping doesn't always save as much money as you might think. I'm currently camping in New England and even state parks are $30 a night for a primative site. You've also got increased fuel costs while towing. There are certainly times where staying at motels or Airbnb would probably work out as close to the same price, but there also is value in the camping experience.
    It seems many states have found those to be a good way to make extra money off travelers, by charging a higher rate to those not residents of the state they are in. Some times you may almost find it cheaper (or at least compatible) in privately owned spots, while the camper next to you is paying far less. Most annoying part comes from being where we are in NY - you could travel several hours without leaving the state, but you can also be in another state in under an hour - the same issue occurred last year with state border crossing rules.

    Quote Originally Posted by DonnaR57 View Post
    This might explain why I made the statement that I did, regarding storage. Before we left San Diego, I fielded many questions on our local social media forum regarding "cheap storage" from folks who bought a rig before they checked into local storage. In San Diego, "cheap storage" doesn't exist. As I said above, even the private land folks want $150/month.
    Donna
    Would it have been easier to have it now? Thinking that finding an inexpensive spot to keep it (if you need a spot at all beyond your own property) would be (somewhat) easier in MO than it was in CA? Not having one, but around here it wouldn't even come to mind to be an issue - there's probably been 3 or 4 in driveways (or other spots on the property) over the years just in this development, at least a couple of them full (drivable and fairly long) motorhomes.

  10. #10
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    If you're interested in the pros/cons of scamps, you might take a look at the Youtube Channel Playing with Sticks. He's got several videos about Scamps specifically, as well as other small travel trailer options.

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