the preamble...

About a year ago our friends Shaun & Lynn who live in Nova Scotia talked about getting a small trailer. That planted the seed in our heads. My wife and I started thinking about what kind of trailer would suit us. Right from the start we were most attracted to small lightweight trailers. Soon Shaun & Lynn bought a nice used trailer. I'm not sure the exact size or weight but I'd guess it has about a 14' long cabin and likely weighs 3000 lbs. dry. About the same time other friends, our neighbors Cheryl & Glen, drove to Ohio to buy a much larger trailer. It is like a home on wheels with two slide outs, plush carpeting, a large kitchen with full-size appliances and a big tv that power lifts up out of a cabinet. It is very nice and seems to suit them well but it isn't what we wanted for ourselves. We realized there should be room in the rv marketplace for everyone's idea of what their personal trailer should be.

Most of the products at the rv stores seem to be designed with the idea that buyers want luxury. This translates into huge, relatively expensive, trailers loaded with features and that need big trucks to pull them. We realized our interest was in finding a much simpler trailer. I remembered the small fiberglass egg trailers that were really popular here in Canada in the 70's & 80's. I always thought their kind of minimal accommodations would suit me fine. For me bigger isn't better and I imagined a well designed small trailer could provide us as a couple with everything we need. My wife Heather had always dreamed of someday driving across the continent and up the Alaska Highway. To her that also suggested a small easy-to-tow trailer. Our first research focused on Scamp Trailers. We liked the size, light weight, and exterior appearance of their durable fiberglass products. What turned us off was the interiors seemed to be stuck in the 70's. They do have the option of a wood interior that updates the look quite a bit but we weren't fans of the design. Heather and I are both trained as architects and in that is a bit of a curse. It is par for the course for people with our training to have at least a little design snobbery. Unfortunately we do and we recognize it does influence what we personally like and don't like. No doubt others will love the Scamp interiors. They can buy one if they want and I hope they will be happy.

We both had always liked Airstream Trailers. Who doesn't? I still remember the first time I saw one & the impression it made when I was just five or six years old. The aeronautical styling, shiny aluminum exterior, and reputation for quality sure are attractive. We knew the prices are higher than we can afford but maybe that cost could be justified by how much better the product is. Seeking that justification, I did research by reading Airstream forums and owner blogs. Reading about problems like leaks & floor rot I realized Airstream owners have many of the same problems other rv owners do. It is downright depressing when you read about the problems that plague many rv owners. It seems the vast majority of trailer manufacturers use plywood or particle board in their floor constructions. Wood wall & roof framing is also prevalent in the industry. Sometimes there is aluminum framing but the wall & ceiling finishes are backed with thin luan plywood. Often trailers sold as having fiberglass sides or roofs are really luan plywood with a very thin lamination of fiberglass on the exposed face. They look great but are vulnurable to delamination & moisture problems. Any leaks in the protective metal, fiberglass or rubber in their shell and these trailers will decay. It is hard to say how prevalent the problems are but it is certainly sobering to read about those suffering with such problems. Too many have had to accept that their expensive trailer purchases aren't the long-term investment they had hoped for. This re-focused our search to find trailers that would not have these problems.

I spent countless hours on the internet visiting the websites of every manufacturer (hundreds) who make small trailers. The products of Livin' Lite Recreational Products were the cream that floated to the top. Where they stood apart was in their all aluminum & composite construction, the light weight, their functional aesthetic, and relative affordability. Formaldahyde and VOC levels are intrinsically low by the materials they use. They seem to understand the wants & desires of a whole group of potential buyers who were not being served by the rest of the rv industry. People like us.

We decided one of their small CampLite trailers would be perfect for us...

Regards, Ross   July 21, 2012

1 comment:

  1. It sounds like you are happy with the camplite trailer. I live in BC and am interested in the trailers... would you be willing to be contacted about your experience (and what you modified)


I welcome your comments -- Ross