Ultimate Guide To Fiberglass Travel Trailers
By Marshall Wendler
Fiberglass travel trailers are a sought-after and niche RV type, and they offer many advantages over traditional travel trailers.
People who buy these fiberglass RVs swear by them, and they are some of the most loyal RV owners.
What is so special about a fiberglass trailer?
Why is a molded fiberglass RV such a highly sought-after product?
Are they worth the extra money? (How much is my camper worth?)
We will answer these questions and more as we take a deep dive into the world of small fiberglass campers.
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What Is A Fiberglass Camper?
A fiberglass camper is made out of, well, fiberglass.
The walls, roof, and floor are all formed from a composite material that makes for a high-quality 'hull.' (Glass fibers saturated with either an epoxy or polyester resin.)
This differs from conventional recreational vehicle construction. Most consist of either a wood or aluminum frame with insulation sandwiched between hulls.
They have either sheet metal or thin composite skins. There are separate walls, roofs, and floors, which means many seams (potential leak points).
A molded fiberglass travel trailer's manufacturing process is vastly different from traditional camper trailers.
The fiberglass body comprises only two parts - an upper and a lower half. A single seam connects them. This means:
- The outer 'hull' has many fewer potential points for water to enter
- It is a much more solid structure
The upper and lower shell halves are formed in molds where the fiberglass is laid out, then the resin is applied.
Once the shell cures (dried and set), it is removed from the mold and joined to its other half. This is the same primary method used to make boat hulls.
Are Fiberglass Travel Trailers Better?
To put it simply, yes! Small fiberglass travel trailers are better constructed than most other trailers.
I'd be hard-pressed to think of a manufacturer that builds a more solid unit than any of the fiberglass travel trailer manufacturers we list below.
Don't get me wrong, some of the best-rated travel trailers use traditional construction processes and have overall fine quality.
But there is nothing like starting with a solid, two-piece shell and building an RV from that to make a solid product that holds up well over time and use.
Resale value is typically very good with fiberglass camping trailers. For example, a used Casita or Scamp travel trailer will be selling surprisingly close to what a new one costs.
Part of this is due to the low build volume and long wait times for a new one, so if someone wants a molded fiberglass trailer RIGHT NOW, they are willing to pay a premium.
A small fiberglass camper is easy to tow, and many models only require a vehicle with a modest towing capacity.
Have a car with at least 3,500 pounds towing capacity? No problem! It isn't necessary to have a big size truck with these RVs. Small to medium size SUVs work great!
There are some downsides to these travel trailer types. For instance, they are expensive compared to a similarly sized 'regular' RV.
Also, they don't have a travel trailer slideout, which increases the interior living space. This trailer style may not work for you if you have a large family, especially if you are looking for a full time travel trailer.
(More drawbacks in the pros/cons section below.)
The fiberglass camper trailer is the only way to go for many people. But is it best for you?
That's up to you to decide.
Pros And Cons Of Molded Fiberglass Travel Trailers
The best fiberglass trailers have features that make them super appealing. They also have some drawbacks that don't make them the right option for certain people (including those that have larger families).
Fiberglass RV Manufacturers
There are many travel trailer brands out there, but only a handful of them make molded fiberglass campers. Why is this?
Most manufacturers want to crank out the most trailers that they can for the least money, resulting in a lot of junk RVs. You can't do this with fiberglass construction, which is time-consuming and labor-intensive.
As a result, only a tiny fraction of RV manufacturers make all fiberglass travel trailers. Most of which are lower volume builders, not cranking out the rigs by the dozens.
Price reflects the increased costs related to using this alternative building method. Molded fiberglass trailers are more expensive than their traditionally constructed counterparts.
Here is a list of the more popular fiberglass RV manufacturers (not exhaustive). Companies are listed from shortest available trailers to longest trailers.
What Is The Best Fiberglass Travel Trailer?
The beauty of fiberglass travel trailer brands is that quality is typically built-in due to the construction process.
Overall, these RVs are more rugged and have fewer issues than traditionally constructed trailers.
Most of the above-listed brands make our list of top-rated RVs. Unlike all other segments of RVs, it's pretty hard to buy a poorly built small fiberglass travel trailer. You almost can't go wrong!
These fiberglass camper trailers are all excellent choices, depending on your camping needs.
Just know that while the exterior construction process is similar, there are very discernible differences between a Casita or Scamp trailer and higher market RVs such as Oliver Travel Trailers.
Amenities and layouts vary, as will the dry weight between different sizes of fiberglass RV trailers.
Choosing The Right Fiberglass Trailer
Figuring out which of these small fiberglass trailers is best for you takes some consideration, and you will need to decide which features and amenities are important to you.
You should know how you camp (where you go, how long you stay out, campground vs. boondocking, etc.) to choose which is the best fiberglass RV for you.
The choice comes down to which of these models works best for your camping style.
Questions To Ask Yourself
- Do you need all the bells and whistles - a permanent queen RV mattress size bed, a bathroom, a fancy interior, air conditioning, a pretty design over pure functionality?
- What kind of vehicle are you going to be towing? A truck that can pull any of these fiberglass trailers? Or do you have a car or SUV that has limited towing capability?
- In other words, does size matter to you? Do you need a lightweight fiberglass travel trailer, or is weight not a concern?
- Are you a family of four or more, or just a couple? Are you a solo traveler with less gear and can put up with the lack of space inside?
Smaller VS Larger Fiberglass Trailers
The Scamp and Casita are basic, no-frills small camper trailers and don't have many options. They are available with a wet bathroom, a seating area (sometimes in the form of a small side dinette), and sleeping space (generally not a permanent bed, with camper bunk mattresses being an option in some floor plans), but suffer from limited storage space.
When you move up to an Escape or Bigfoot RV, you are getting into the territory that requires a truck to tow. SUVs and cars will not have the ability to tow most of these campers due to the higher weight and greater overall length.
There will be more features and options, while the materials will be nicer than a Scamp or Casita.
Niceties such as full bathrooms and a dual RV twin mattress setup are available, and the overall quality and design of the living area are a step up from the smaller trailers.
Storage space is more abundant due to the larger size. But again, these benefits come at the cost of more weight and less ability to fit into the smallest of camping spots.
The top-end (and most expensive) fiberglass trailer manufacturers are the Oliver Legacy Elite. There are two lengths of the Oliver, both of which utilize an inner and outer fiberglass shell for true 4-season camping.
Interior finishings are a step above everyone else in this market, and options are abundant.
The downside to an Oliver Legacy Elite (other than the price) is that trucks and SUVs with decent towing capacities are required to haul them around due to their weight.
As you can see, there is a molded fiberglass camper for almost every camping style and level of needed luxury. Just keep in mind that the price of entry into this recreational vehicle style will be greater than their more traditional (and most likely lesser quality) counterparts.
How Long Do Fiberglass Trailers Last?
How long fiberglass trailers last is one of those 'it depends' questions, and it all comes down to what type of life they lead - any RV that is abused, no matter its initial quality, won't lead a long, happy life.
Generally, an all fiberglass travel trailer lasts longer than a travel trailer made with a traditional frame, insulation, and siding. The fiberglass version has a vastly superior exterior and is better put together than most recreational vehicles on the market.
If properly taken care of, quality fiberglass travel trailers last years, if not decades. The resale value is superior to a 'regular' RV.
A well-maintained rig gives its owners years of happy camping and doesn't disappoint when it comes time to sell (IF that time ever comes!).
The best fiberglass travel trailers (and they all are pretty darn good) are very well built and can last a long time. They are an excellent option for someone looking for something different and better made than the traditional camper.
I'm considering one for my next rig. Small fiberglass camper trailers are very appealing because they don't have slides, have virtually indestructible exteriors, are lighter weight, and are smaller than my current rig. Quite simply, they are intriguing.
If you are looking for a quality built RV that is different from most rigs on the road, fiberglass egg campers are an option to consider.
Author: Marshall Wendler
As the co-founder of Camp Addict, Marshall Wendler is a seasoned expert in the world of RVing, with years of hands-on experience living the full-time RV life in his travel trailer. From 2014 to 2020, Marshall learned the ins and outs of the lifestyle and has enjoyed sharing his knowledge and expertise with others. After a brief hiatus as a part-time RVer in 2021 and 2022, Marshall is back on the road full-time, embracing the vanlife and all the exciting possibilities it brings. He particularly enjoys the freedom and flexibility of boondocking and is excited to share his technical insights with the Camp Addict community. Whether you're a seasoned pro or new to the RV world, Marshall has valuable insights and information to share, and is here to help you navigate the exciting world of RVing with confidence and ease.