We are looking to buy a camper trailer for our family (this would be our first camper), and I think I have narrowed it down to the Scamp 13' standard, big bed, front bunk. My family had a pop-up tent camper when I was a kid, and it was a lot of work to put up/take down. I am looking for some help with options and answer to questions I have before we pull the trigger. First some background: we live in Tucson, AZ. We have two kids, ages 14 and 11. Our oldest prefers to sleep in a tent, so it would mostly be our youngest and us in the camper at night unless there was some reason the tent was not a good option (bears, weather, tight space at the campsite). We want the camper because we like to take a long trip (3 weeks) each summer, and occasional long-weekend trips during the school year, but hotels and Airbnb really add up, and tent camping is not realistic for our long trips. We also like to explore different places on our trips, but it gets tiresome to feel like we're constantly being uprooted, so we like the idea of taking our little home (and beds) with us as we explore. We have a small dog, who loves to go with us, but we often end up having to leave her with my mom because we can't leave her in hotels or cars while we go explore.The idea became really important to me after our trip to Zion National Park recently, where we spent about 4 hours getting our campsite set up in 100+ degree heat.
The important stuff: we're looking at the 13' Scamp because we have a 2012 Outback 2.5i with a towing capacity of 2700#/200TW. With kids getting close to college age, we're not looking to replace a vehicle that's paid off for another loan any time soon, and we're anticipating that it will be primarily my husband, me, and our little dog using the camper within a few years. I looked at the Casita and Escape, but the weight limits exceed our tow vehicle, which is how I settled on the Scamp. We're not interested in a bathroom model because I don't want to have to empty those tanks and we're not boondockers.
So here are my questions, which I hope some of you can answer.
1. BIKES: For the next 4-7 years, we will need to bring 3-4 bikes with us. After that, we'll have two bikes. Are we better off putting the bikes on the roof rack of our car or the back of the Scamp? Will bikes fit inside the 13' Scamp? What is the width and length of the aisle in the 13' Scamp? (Would I be able to fit 4 bikes, 2 bikes, or 0 bikes inside?
2. BUNKS: We will occasionally need to use the top bunk for my daughter if she decides she doesn't want to sleep in the tent. I can't find any reliable information about weight limits. Is there anything I could do to reinforce the top bunk without making it a permanent fixture?
3. PORTAPOTTI: We will be staying in campgrounds and RV parks. Do we need the portapotti? I would like to convert the front bench to a convertible dinette (we plan to leave the back area as a permanent bed and add clothing storage underneath the dining table area), so I don't know if we'll have room for the portapotti? (Yes, I know; I am planning to cut up a new camper; the deluxe version is too heavy and the deluxe dinette eliminates the bunk option.)
4. EXTERIOR SHOWER PORT: How difficult is it to add an exterior shower? I would like to have this for easier cleanup, showering with a shower curtain set up, washing the dog, etc.
5. BIG BED: We know we want the big bed. How does this impact the storage closet? Can anyone with a big bed setup show me their closet/pantry?
6. STINKY SLINKY TUBE: Will Scamp put it somewhere else other than the front of the camper for us? I'm not sure how to add this ourselves if we ask them not to include it. We would only need it for gray water from the sink. I read that it is too short and that it discolors, which is a definite concern since we live in such a hot climate. What is the deal with this tube? Since we're ordering new, what is the best way to deal with this tube before we end up with something nasty on the front of our camper?
7. PROPANE TANKS: Do we need a double-tank set up for a 13' with A/C and 1.9 cf refrigerator? We have a 2-burner everest camp stove that we will probably use more often than the inside stove just to keep odors under control.
8. LED Lights: Will Scamp give us LED lights instead of regular lights and that flourescent light in the kitchen? I want to put an LED strip under the kitchen cabinet. How many extra lights should we include, and where should we put them?
9. EXTRA OUTLETS: I have teenagers. We need to power up our devices. I am figuring that we will need 4 12-volt outlets, plus 2 120 volt outlets. Are there any outlets included in the Scamp, or are these all special orders?
10. AWNING: We have a tent-style screen house that works well over the campsite picnic table (also doubles as a beach tent). The awning would give us cover in front of the door, but I'm not sure if it's worth the expense?
11. I don't see an option for the rock guard cover for the front window? Is this no longer part of the new Scamps?
12. CURTAINS: What are the curtain rods made of? I am wondering if it will be easy to replace the stock curtains with something I actually like?
13. BACKSPLASH: What is the backsplash made of? Is it fiberglass or plastic? I know I don't want rat fur behind the stove.
14. SOLAR/GENERATOR: It doesn't seem like Scamp offers prewiring for solar? If we want to get a solar system, how do we go about getting it to work with our Scamp? Would we also need a generator if we have a solar system?
14. AXLE SAG? I have read that the axle starts to sag over time. Is there anything we can do to protect against this? If the axle starts to sag, what do we do to fix it?
15. OPTIONS: We are considering the following options, and could use some advice from people who know whether these are necessaries or whether we can skip them:
- The package comes with city water, 1.9 cf refrigerator, Battery Pack group 24, screen door, window over range, rear or front cabinet.
- ROOF A/C: Is the Roof A/C overkill on a 13' (temperatures exceeding 100 degrees for most of our summer camping season)? Is there a better option? Also, does the roof A/C mean I cannot get cabinets all around the perimeter of the ceiling?
- 3-WAY FAN: If I get the A/C, should I also get the 3-way fan? That seems like a lot of holes in the roof.
- SIDE CABINETS: If I want the side cabinets to run all the way around the ceiling, how many do I need to ask for?
- FURNACE: We are planning to get the furnace so that the camper will be ready for colder climates (Yellowstone, Canada, and East Coast are on our to-visit lists). Is the furnace worth the cost, or would we be better off with a little portable heater?
- TV PACKAGE: Because we will be using the camper for vacation travel and not just for camping, we would like to have a TV to relax after a long day of various travel activities. Scamp offers a "TV Package" for $800, but I have no idea what that package includes? Does anyone know? Is a 12-volt RV television a good idea? I am worried that road vibrations and bumps will damage a flat screen.
- WINDOWS: Does Scamp still offer windows that louver so that they can be opened when it is raining?
- HEAT STRIP for ROOF AIR: What is this, and do I need it?
- WIRELESS BRAKE CONTROL: I am planning to include electric brakes and get an anti-sway bar. Should I get the wireless brake control from Scamp, or take my car to the Subaru people for the brake control?
- VINYL FLOOR: Does anyone know what the vinyl floor looks like? I would love to see a picture.
- If I get a water heater and water pump, where are these stored? Can anyone who has this set up share a picture?
- WHEEL ON JACK: Useful? Not useful?
- TV ANTENNA: Is this another thing that will be sticking up on the roof? Is it necessary? We would get the cable hook-up so that we can hook up if we are in a campground with cable, but otherwise, we'll likely be looking at getting a wifi hotspot/mifi. Is there a good reason to add the antenna?
I realize this is A LOT of questions, so I appreciate any help.