Help choosing Scamp 13' options

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Last seen: 5 months 5 days ago
Joined: 06/01/2018 - 20:30
Help choosing Scamp 13' options


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. 

Last seen: 2 days 22 hours ago
Joined: 05/27/2018 - 18:42
With the bigger bed you do

With the bigger bed you do lose some storage space and some counter space. We looked at layout 1 with the wider bed and the regular bed and decided we wanted more storage space so opted for the smaller bed.


Here are photos from the scamp site showing the two different closets. The two doors are with the wide bed.

Last seen: 5 months 5 days ago
Joined: 06/01/2018 - 20:30
Thank you. I couldn't find

Thank you. I couldn't find those photos on their website. We'll definitely want the bigger bed and plan to eventually convert the front bench to a dinette so we can use the bed as a dedicated bed. 

Did you get the awning? I've read mixed reviews, and am leaning toward leaving it off, but I don't want to place my order and then have regrets.

Last seen: 2 months 1 week ago
Joined: 06/08/2017 - 09:04
13' options

4. Be aware that some campgrounds do not allow outside showering. I am relatively new to this, so not sure how common it is. I have seen outside showers prohibited in National Parks and some State Parks. We do not have an outside shower, but I've seen it listed in the rules.

5. I believe the big bed cuts 10" from the counter and cabinet space on one side and 10" from the width of the tall cabinet on the other side. The big bed tops the extra counter/storage space for me.

6. The stinky slinky is short. We intend to replace it. The holding tube space appears large enough for a longer one.

7. Two propane tanks give peace of mind that we won’t run out at night, while cooking, or some other inconvenient time.

9. No 12v outlets were included in our 13' Standard. I'm not sure about 120 outlets.  Ours has two, but our Scamp was a canceled order.  So I don't know if this was originally included or an option. I wish I had a couple of 12vs installed when we picked our Scamp up at the factory.

12. The curtain rods are gold-colored metal and very thin. The cheap kind you would find in a discount store. They bend easily. They also fall down during travel. But they do the job. I remove them and place them on the bed while traveling. Two solutions I have read, but not yet implemented, are to zip tie the end of the rods to the brackets (to prevent falling) and insert a small wooden dowel inside the rods (to prevent bending.). These are on my to-do list as is spray painting the rods.  I want white rods, to match the curtains I am going to make.

It will be very easy to replace the curtains. Lots of people do. I purchased pre-made curtains from a thrift shop. I'm going to cut them down to size and hem to fit the small Scamp windows. It should be an easy project as the rod pockets are already made.

13. The backsplash is white plastic. It appears to be the same material a tub enclosure is made of, but someone else may know more about that than me. It's very easy to clean.

Roof AC: We did not get the roof air as my husband is 6'1".  He hit his head on the roof air which is placed in the only standing space in the 13'  If that is not an issue for you, I would definitely recommend factory-installed air.

Furnace: We love the furnace. It's loud, but heats the space quickly. It works when we have no electric hook-up.

Cabinets: We have a cabinet on each side of the dinette/bed area. I was told I could either have the side cabinets or an end cabinet, but not both.

Windows: Our 2017 has louvered windows. 


Last seen: 22 hours 29 min ago
Joined: 07/07/2016 - 05:06

I will just answer one question, about the bikes.  Lots of bonuses upgrading from a camper from a tent, but the 13' Scamp is quite small.  You really need to go see one to get a feel for its size.  You should plan on putting the bikes on top of your car.  Bikes on the back of the Scamp will throw off its balance and you will cause swaying.  I doubt you could even fit one bike inside the trailer.  Even if you were able to jam one in, the trailer bounces a lot.  There isn't any way to secure it, and you would risk damaging the trailer and the bike.  

Rhonda Riebow

Last seen: 5 months 5 days ago
Joined: 06/01/2018 - 20:30
Bikes on roof of outback?

How will having bikes on the roof of the car impact towing, do you know? 

Last seen: 22 hours 29 min ago
Joined: 07/07/2016 - 05:06
Bikes on roof

Ha ha, just the thought of trying to hoist bikes up on the roof hurts my back and shoulders!  I don't know how it might affect towing, other than having the max payload inside the car plus towing a trailer might tax your car a bit.  Is that how you haul the bikes now?  If you were really curious about the setup, you could rent a small UHaul trailer for a few hours to test it.  

Rhonda Riebow

Lmitc210's picture
Last seen: 4 days 20 hours ago
Joined: 01/27/2018 - 20:46
My two cents


My wife and I put in an order earlier this Spring for a 13' Standard with the big bed and front commode/shower. A week later we found a 2016 13' Deluxe with a big bed, front shower, dual propane tanks, receiver hitch tube, and awning for sale, and ended up canceling our order and buying that. We tow it with a 2009 Subaru Forester 2.5i, with the OEM Subaru hitch, so we have a 2400# towing limit and 200# tongue weight limit. Our kids are grown, and no grandkids yet! We plan on boondocking a lot, or at least camping in out-of-the-way, less-developed campsites.

Since we bought the Scamp, we've used it twice, so not super-experienced, but I think I can comment on a couple of your questions, as follows:

1. BIKES - last weekend I tried loading 4 bikes on the rear of the Scamp in my 4-bike receiver carrier, and it reduced tongue weight waaay too much. I ended up carrying two bikes on the hitch, and loading some gear a little forward to balance it out, and got the tongue weight into a reasonable range, but still experienced a little trailer sway now and then while under way. Take-away: I wouldn't recommend more than two bikes on the rear of the Scamp. And I also wouldn't recommend trying to put them inside. You may be able to fit a child's bike or two, but at the risk of damaging the trailer and/or the bikes due to load-shifting while under way. I think you should plan on a car-mounted roof rack if you're going to haul more than two bikes.

5. BIG BED - Like JackieA said, you'll lose about 10" of space on each side of the trailer, which I guess is significant in a 13', but we really, really like the wider bed so we deal with it.

6. STINKY SLINKY TUBE - Ours came with the Scamp tube riveted to the trailer front, and we've used it twice. I have no complaints so far, but ignorance is bliss. I would have to defer to the comments/concerns of more experienced Scampers. I'm pretty sure the Scamp tube would hold a longer hose. My only concern is that there are a variety of dump station coupler adapters sold, and the Scamp tube won't accommodate the coupler from these adapter kits that goes on the end of the hose. The previous owners had an aftermarket hose and couplers they carried in a plastic bin in their tow vehicle.

7. PROPANE TANKS - I like the dual tanks, but keep in mind that 2 full propane tanks will add 40-50 lbs. of tongue weight. As with our Forester, that will be significant with your Outback. Of course, tongue weight can be compensated for by how you load other gear in the trailer, but then you are adding to your overall trailer weight. Like you, we plan on doing most of our cooking outdoors on our two-burner propane stove. In our admittedly limited experience, the propane usage in that scenario seems to be pretty light. The air conditioner will only run on "shore power" (120V), not propane or 12V, so it won't contribute to propane use. I guess the best thing about a 2-tank setup is you can use one until totally empty, then switch to the other and refill the first at your leisure.

8. LED LIGHTS - Scamp doesn't use the florescent light under the kitchen cabinet anymore; its a fixture with two incandescent bulbs, which can easily be replaced with LED bulbs. I think the same is true for the "reading" lights, but not sure. In our 2016, the previous owner said all the lights came from Scamp as incandescent, so they replaced them all with LEDs. We have two reading lights, one on each end of the bed, and that seems OK. The two times we've used it, if one of us is sleeping, the other just uses a headlight for reading.

9. EXTRA OUTLETS - I assume you'll be doing lots of phone/device recharging, so the 12-volt interior outlets (like the cigar lighters, er, "power points" in your car) will come in handy. I can't remember if any 12V or 120V outlets come standard; the catalog should tell you.

10. AWNING - Ours came with the awning, but it wasn't an option we were interested in paying for when we were planning on buying new. I've only set it up once, on last weekend's camping trip, but I didn't leave it up. I'm thinking it might be more of a plus in the warm, open southwestern US sites y'all might be frequenting?

14. AXLE SAG - based on what I've *read* I think the problem with axle sag on the torsion-type suspension axles that Scamp uses are exacerbated by long-term storage with full weight on the axles. It's recommended to significantly lighten the load on the axle during prolonged storage by putting the Scamp up on jack stands.

15. OPTIONS: ROOF A/C - We haven't used ours much, and probably won't given that most of the sites we tend to use will not have shore power. In hots areas, and if you have shore power, I'd think the A/C might be good to have. I think having a roof-mounted A/C will limit your "bedroom" cabinet options to rear cabinets only, but Scamp can tell you.

3-WAY FAN - I would recommend it, even with an A/C. If you're in a site with no shore power, it might save your bacon (or prevent you from turning into bacon).

WINDOWS - Yes, the side windows are louvered, and the rear window is a slider (side-to-side). During a moderate rain last weekend with no wind, we were able to leave the louvered windows fully open. It was nice taking a nap in our snug little Scamp with the windows open during the rain!

HEAT STRIP for ROOF AIR - This would be a heating option if you didn't have a furnace. Our Scamp sales guy we worked with when we were ordering ours was not too keen on these. He seemed to think they weren't that effective, or at least not worth the cost, especially if you get the furnace (ours has a furnace).

WIRELESS BRAKE CONTROL - I have a wired controller, which I installed myself. I wasn't aware that Scamp now provides one, but that might be a good option; lots easier to install I guess than a wired controller. I recommend you read up on them on the web. I've read that some Subaru owners have had problems getting the Subaru dealership to install a brake controller, as it seems they don't like to see much more than a light utility trailer towed.

VINYL FLOOR - I can post a picture later, but it's pretty much brown/whiteish; nothing flashy or distracting. Just based on our two times use, I would HIGHLY recommend the vinyl flooring instead of carpeting.

WATER HEATER AND WATER (DEMAND) PUMP LOCATIONS - the 6-gallon water heater in our 2016 13' is under the rear dinette/bed seat, "road side." The 12V "demand" water pump is located under the rear dinette/bed seat, "curb side" along with the freshwater tank.

Finally, regarding the tow vehicle, right after we got our Scamp I weighed it at a truck stop and it was 1830 pounds "dry" (except for the propane tanks, which I estimate were each about 2/3 full). So, that's pretty heavy, but keep in mind ours is a Deluxe model with all-wood cabinets, which adds a lot of weight. Towing our Scamp on a camping trip (i.e., with gear) with our 2009 Forester 2.5 is OK for the relatively flat topography of the upper Midwest (Minnesota), but I wouldn't try it in the mountains out west. If you get a 13' Standard model (fiberglass cabinets), and with your increased rated tow limit, you should be OK, assuming the increased tow limit rating translates to actual performance. A rule of thumb is to not exceed 80% of your max. tow rating.

Hope this helps. - Loyd

2016 13 Scamp Deluxe
TV: 2009 Subaru Forester 2.5X Premium

athearn2's picture
Last seen: 1 day 8 hours ago
Joined: 02/16/2015 - 09:43

This may not be the right place to post this but it was mentioned above so I thought I would chime in! Our thoughts on driving in mountains with our 2.5, 4 cylinder Nissan Frontier stick shift. Driving in Maine where we live and any of the mountainous areas of eastern US is a good bit more difficult than driving in the western mountains. Much more down shifting, etc. In the east the hills are steeper and the roads are more curvy, (harder to keep the speed up). This past summer we drove our truck and 13 foot Scamp out west over 8,000 miles. Driving in the mountains of Montana, Utah, New Mexico, and Arizona was almost like driving an automatic! Just sit and steer! After two 5,000 mile trips from Maine to Florida and back, plus several short trips in Maine, we have found that the driver has to constantly be aware of the need to shift, even on the interstates, in the eastern US.

Flyboyscamp's picture
Last seen: 2 months 3 weeks ago
Lifetime Member
Joined: 01/01/2014 - 14:17
I installed a extra drain

I installed a extra drain tube holder under our Scamp, easy to do.

Doug Allen
2016 Ford F-150
2018 Lance 1575

mccownw's picture
Last seen: 6 days 14 hours ago
Lifetime Member
Joined: 11/02/2013 - 18:20
Bikes on the hitch??

How do you load two bikes on the hitch?