Since I got the itch to get back into RV’ing, I’ve been researching the different campers out there.
Last time we did this, we had a 30 footer. While it was great to have that space to live in full-time, we are looking for something smaller for these camping trips and vacations.
I started by making a list of our key requirements before even looking at price:
- Inside toilet and shower (wet bathrooms OK)
- Sleeping capacity of 4
- Small footprint for easy set up and maneuvering – even though we have a F350, we wanted something that would be easy to hitch and go for the weekend trip
- AC/heating and able to handle Texas heat
- Fridge and Freezer
- used or new – not important
- Must. not. be. ugly.
This started narrowing down the field. The following is a list of super cute campers that did not make the cut:
- nuCamp RV teardrops – I really liked the aesthetics of the nuCamps. The layouts had everything I wanted except for sleeping capacity. I think if we didn’t need to sleep 4, these would be a fantastic option. They had solar panels build into the round roof, lots of great windows and beautiful furnishings
- Colorado Teadrops – Even though they’re overkill, I dig the offroad tires on these. Great shelving system. Unfortunately, there wasn’t a model with a bathroom inside the trailer
- The Little Guy Max – Excellent Queen Bed, lots of windows, solar options, bells and whistles on the inside. It can only sleep 3
- Scamp trailers – ridiculously cute egg trailers. Very retro. The fifth wheeler version was not aesthetically pleasing and the other egg versions did NOT sleep more than 3 people once you add a bathroom.
- Forest River R-Pods – These trailers checked the boxes feature-wise but they just looked super boring and not unlike every other mass-produced travel trailers out there. If I wanted one that looked like this, I would just go ahead and get the bigger trailer.
- Oliver travel trailer – Michael said this is like a space ship but cooler than anything Space Force would put together and he’s not wrong. Really great included options including things like a compost toilet option, marine grade shelving doors and hinges, prewired for solar and also an inverter built-in. Just super well thought out. The sleeping capacity of 3 eliminated this from our shortlist.
The following became my shortlist that I did deeper dives into :
Airstream 16RB (any model)
- Beautiful, timeless retro look that’s classic and largely unchanged over the years
- the 16 footer hit all the requirements in terms of sleeping capacity and appears extremely spacious on the inside too
- Because of the aluminum body, denting is reported as a common issue. Other than aesthetics, this can carry maintenance costs as well with denting leading to structural damage, rust etc.
- The price point was a little steep and along with the high cost of maintenance and difficulty in getting parts, this was not the top pick
Little Guy Camp Rover
- The Camp Rover is basically the Little Guy Max but stripped down of some of the accessories AND with a bunk bed option over the dinette
- It has a porcelain toilet and a pretty spacious bathroom for a tiny camper
- They hit all the points and I was basically ready to buy since I found the lone dealer in TX that had them. When I called him though, he told me the sad story of how he just sold two of them and then had them returned because the Camp Rover has a very small A/C unit that sat under the Queen bed. This unit has only an 8,200 BTU and this was NOT working out in the TX heat.
- Sadly, because of the feedback about the A/C, this was struck off the shortlist
- Really innovative Modular layout design ! Like lego blocks, every component for tables/chairs/beds/storage/bathrooms can be moved around on the layout as you need
- The interesting toilet works like a diaper bin with plastic wrapped around your “payload” so that’s a bit weird
- Without going into further research, I imagine adding things like a composting toilet might be quite difficult
- Unfortunately, this product is priced out of our range. After I played around with the different options, this would set us back 45- 50K to start with.
After looking at tons of research, write ups and videos, I think we are heavily leaning on :
Casita Heritage (17 Deluxe Model)
- Hits all our requirements in terms of sleeping capacity, needed amenities and size
- Super cute retro look. I’ve seen lots of great custom paint jobs for them too. Some quirky things I find adorable are the carpet-lined walls and ceiling as part of the insulation
- The used market is really bare. Most owners keep them for many years and most owners seem to be singles or couples and therefore do not have the added bunk beds to sleep 4
- They are a small family owned business with a small production line and sell directly from their factory in Rice, TX (3 hours away from us).
- The best option would be for us to buy a new one that they assemble just for us with the options exactly as we need. We are looking to probably end up between 21-25K which is not horrible at all.
The Casita folks tell me there is actually a Heritage they are finishing for someone’s order that I can go take a look at in a few days so that might be a plan.
If we order now, we could have it in October. It feels like a long time away and it would mean this summer, we wouldn’t be able to use it but with all the pandemic risks, it is not a bad idea to just stay put for a little longer anyway!
More to come.
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