They’re small. They’re cute. They look kind of like little eggs being towed down the highway.
They’re fiberglass travel trailers, and there’s a reason they’re basically a cult phenomenon. These little RVs pack a powerful punch, offering affordability, reliability, and, according to some, better resistance to water damage as compared to other trailers of their size and class.
Plus, they just plain look cool — and given their size and weight, make for excellent adventure vehicles for campers looking for something small, cozy, and prepared to take on even rugged terrain.
In this post, we’re going to walk you through everything you need to know about small fiberglass travel trailers, from their history to the best ones available on the market today. We’ll also touch on pricing, availability, and the benefits their owners say they have over other traditional travel trailers.
Read on to learn everything you need to know about these unique little trailers!
The History of Fiberglass Travel Trailers
The molded fiberglass travel trailer as we know it dates back to the 1960s, when aluminum models like the Airstream were booming. A Canadian manufacturer by the name of Boler introduced a trailer made out of this new material, which offered a unique look, more affordability than the aluminum versions, and a light tow weight.
However, it wasn’t until the 1970s when Scamp came onto the market, popularizing a variation of this molded fiberglass design. Boler and Scamp worked together to create and perfect these trailers. Throughout that decade, use of these unique trailers proliferated, and in 1983, Casita Travel Trailers opened its (tiny, fiberglass) doors.
Fiberglass travel trailers continue to be popular amongst campers today, largely for the same reasons; their round, molded shape makes them less vulnerable to water-related damages than rectangular trailers with seamed edges, and their lightweight nature means they can be towed even behind certain SUVs and cars.
Because they’re tiny, fiberglass travel trailers also offer an affordable option for campers who aren’t looking for a great, big rig to stretch out in.
Psst: want to know more about the history of RVing in general? Check out this trip down memory lane!
3 Best Fiberglass Travel Trailers
Although they’ve been on the market since the 1960s, there are still relatively few fiberglass travel trailer manufacturers today. If you’re in the market for a fiberglass camper of your own, here are some of the best makers to work with.
1. Casita Travel Trailers
Although they’re not the originals, Casita Travel Trailers are some of the most popular fiberglass travel trailers on the market, and for good reason. Their very high production quality means these trailers maintain their resale value for decades, and their lightness and affordability make them a great way to get on the road as quickly as possible.
Casita Travel Trailers is based in Rice, Texas, which is the home of their only operating storefront. In order to own one of these special trailers, you must custom order it (wait times vary and are often several months). Otherwise, you’ll have to find one available used through a private seller — they aren’t outsourced to a ton of dealership show rooms.
For that reason, Casita also has a program where current owners can show off their trailers to curious people who may be interested in purchasing one for themselves. For even more information about Casita Travel Trailers, click here.
As mentioned above, Scamp travel trailers figured heavily in the evolution of these unique little trailers, and they’re still available today. They come in three convenient sizes (13, 16 or 19 feet), and are designed to be towed by SUVs, trucks, and even small cars.
Scamp travel trailers takes pride in its high-quality manufacturing process, which takes place in Backus, Minnesota. That’s also where its showroom is located, but the company offers delivery of your new travel trailer to any place in the continental United States.
Owning a Scamp really is like owning a little part of RVing history. Click here to learn even more about the Scamp corporation.
3. Armadillo Trailers
Now that molded fiberglass trailers are their own genre of RV, more manufacturers have hit the scene — one of which is Canadian-based Armadillo Trailers, which builds a variety of floor plans into its standard 13.5-foot fiberglass trailer shell.
Armadillo Trailers are customizable with a wide range of available options and specs, and prices start as low as $19,500 USD for a brand-new trailer with the basics. They also offer an upgraded “backpack” option that gives you a few extra inches of room, which is perfect for expanding your onboard storage space.
Click here to learn more about Armadillo Trailers.
Are Fiberglass Travel Trailers Better?
So, what’s the big deal about fiberglass travel trailers anyway? Why do some campers think they’re better?
Well, for one thing, they tend to be smaller — and thus more affordable and easier to tow — than many of their larger travel trailer cousins. And their molded fiberglass construction makes them less impervious to rain and other water damage, though of course these damages can still occur, either through a loose window seam, a missing rivet, or what have you.
Plus, fiberglass is well known to be a strong, reliable material, and makes these little trailers a bit tougher than those made of aluminum and other construction materials. For that reason, they’re popular amongst RVers looking for a full-timing vehicle, as well as those who are in the market for a rig they can use to get out into the wilderness for some serious boondocking.
Traveling in a trailer made of such sturdy stuff can offer a lot of stress relief. For instance, if you encounter a rock kicked up on the highway, there’s less chance it’ll leave a ding on your trailer. Ditto other unexpected debris like hail. Because they’re so lightweight, they’re great for travelers who don’t necessarily want to upgrade to a large truck in order to tow a trailer with, and although they’re well-made and thus costly for their size, overall, they’re quite affordable — and tend to maintain their retail value.
How Long do Fiberglass Travel Trailers Last?
Although every RV’s longevity is subject to how well it’s maintained, it’s common knowledge that fiberglass travel trailers do have nice, long lifespans, thanks in large part to the sturdiness of their materials. Although a traditional trailer can start to look dinged up after a few years on the road, even 20-year-old fiberglass models sometimes shine and shimmer… although of course, keeping up with that perfectly white finish can be work intensive.
Fiberglass travel trailers are a good option for campers considering reselling the trailer later on, as often, even rigs from the 1990s fetch upwards of $10,000. Which leads us to the question that may be weighing heavily on every reader’s mind: how much do these things cost in the first place?
How Much Do Fiberglass Travel Trailers Cost?
Although each manufacturer has its own pricing schemas, and it’s possible to upgrade (or downgrade) yourself to a very different price point, small fiberglass travel trailers can often be purchased brand new for about $20,000 — and less than $30,000 even with all the souped-up extras. Considering that larger travel trailers often start in the $30K-$50K range, that can be a very attractive factor for campers ready to hit the road ASAP.
But if you’re still not sure whether a fiberglass travel trailer is right for you, we highly recommend you take one camping! These rigs are wonderful, but they are small, and it’s a good idea to know what you’re in for before you commit to a purchase… especially if you’re looking for a full-time vehicle. Fortunately, it’s possible to find fiberglass travel trailers (and all manner of other “weird” RVs) through the peer-to-peer market at RVshare. Check out what’s available in your area today — just be sure to filter for “towable” if you’re looking for one of these guys. 🙂
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