Best full-size 4 season composite trailer?

eatSleepWoof

Do it for the 'gram
Bigfoot is a good example of a well made trailer. I don't know if Bigfoot does all of this, but you need three key elements to be truly four season capable:
Heating pads on the tanks and insulation on the plumbing lines.
A "skid pad" that fully covers the bottom of the frame AND is insulated ( I prefer aluminum with a layer of insulation on one side).
Heating vents into all areas under the cabin floor and within the frame that contain tanks and plumbing.
BigFoot trailers have a fully enclosed (fibreglass) bottom. They basically have two floors, one that you walk on, and below that, a sub-floor with the tanks. Heating ducts run into the sub-floor, so water tanks and all related components are heated by the same warm air that heats the main living area.

How would the Bigfoot do on miles of NV wash boards with solid axel?
I wouldn't have the slightest worry about that. Air down the trailer, slow down as needed (ie. the same things I'd do with literally any trailer on washboard) and have fun. Independent arm suspension won't give you any measurable benefit on washboard. It may help in some very tricky off-road terrain, but even there, the benefits will be marginal (ie. keeping the trailer more level vs. a solid axle).

Good point. Four season capability and off road capability are not the same thing. I've often wondered why well built fiberglass trailers like Bigfoot and Oliver don't put more capable independent suspensions on their trailers. It's probably because the aluminum frames aren't designed for it.
The North American market simply doesn't demand it. People here camp in RV parks, not in the "outback" (ie. Australian use case). But a typical solid axle & leaf spring setup is also easier to service, replace, modify, etc.
 
But doesn't an independent suspension smooth out the ride and help keep the trailer from rattling apart over the years? Have you been to central NV? I am asking as i have no experience with anything other then a solid axel.
 

Treefarmer

Active member
BigFoot trailers have a fully enclosed (fibreglass) bottom. They basically have two floors, one that you walk on, and below that, a sub-floor with the tanks. Heating ducts run into the sub-floor, so water tanks and all related components are heated by the same warm air that heats the main living area.



I wouldn't have the slightest worry about that. Air down the trailer, slow down as needed (ie. the same things I'd do with literally any trailer on washboard) and have fun. Independent arm suspension won't give you any measurable benefit on washboard. It may help in some very tricky off-road terrain, but even there, the benefits will be marginal (ie. keeping the trailer more level vs. a solid axle).



The North American market simply doesn't demand it. People here camp in RV parks, not in the "outback" (ie. Australian use case). But a typical solid axle & leaf spring setup is also easier to service, replace, modify, etc.
And I hope the North American market continues to mostly camp in RV parks, not in the "outback"! That would leave the good stuff for the 1% of us who wouldn't be caught dead in an RV park. Which is probably most of the people who visit Expedition Portal. 🙂
But doesn't an independent suspension smooth out the ride and help keep the trailer from rattling apart over the years? Have you been to central NV? I am asking as i have no experience with anything other then a solid axel.
The first time you go back to NV with your independent suspension, you are going to be very happy with the upgrade!
 

rehammer81

Active member
As far as not vibrating to pieces, it is not really the independent part of the suspension that is helping. It is a more active spring rate for the load instead of the typical short and stiff trailer leaf spring. Even more important is good compression and rebound dampening. A trailer that was build with a solid axle and long/plusher leaf springs with appropriate valved shocks for the load would do great on washboard too. As mentioned above, the independent suspension mostly benefits ground clearance up the middle and when the trail starts to get rutted really bumpy.

Sent from my SM-G991U using Tapatalk
 

Dmski

Adventurer
I'd say any of the fiberglass trailers are a good platform to start from. Casita, Scamp, Bigfoot, Escape and Oliver to name a few. These seem to be well built and will certainly hold value and last longer compared with your run of the mill RV trailers. Less leak points, usually warmer/insulated depending on the build and compact and usually not too expensive out the gate compared with a dedicated offroad RV trailer like Black Series campers or something. That said, I honestly haven't seen any decent 4 season options in my search, and towing a camper trailer in snow isn't always the best either which might be why there aren't many options and where bed campers come into play for a bit more safety in snow. Campers are certainly towable in snow, but it's a whole different ball game and pucker factor if there is ice out.
 

eatSleepWoof

Do it for the 'gram
But doesn't an independent suspension smooth out the ride and help keep the trailer from rattling apart over the years? Have you been to central NV? I am asking as i have no experience with anything other then a solid axel.
The most important factor is that the suspension (whatever the type) is properly matched to the trailer weight. Too stiff and it’ll bounce like mad, too soft and things will get damaged.

Things rattle apart for many reasons, and suspension is just one of the many factors.

I don’t know what specific parts of Nevada you’re asking about. I’ve been to the state, I’ve been to nearby Death Valley, I’m quite familiar with endless miles of washboard.
 

DFNDER

Member
Oliver brought a trailer to Expo East, so maybe they’re hearing more interest in off grid and forest road camping from their customers. Like so many others, wouldn’t be surprised to see them sell a lifted beefed up X version. If I just wanted a very well built four season rv for pavement and campgrounds, I’d be tempted by an Oliver. They are quite nice, and the double hull seems very robust and well insulated. Not my cup of tea, but for a typical rv kind of trailer, they look way better than the av
 

calicamper

Expedition Leader
Escape and Oliver are built the same way only Oliver puts a internal shell inside theirs. Mehh looks nice but basically makes it impossible to fix vs Escape uses a soft liner. Casita uses carpet glued to the wall. All of them are chopper gun spray in chopped glass mat. Escape definitely adds stringers to key areas for added strength and you can specify if you need or want more.

They all are two piece tubs mounted on a trailer frame. Escape is definitely the best bang for the $👍. I wouldn’t touch Oliver way way too much $ for chopper gun tub on wheels
 

vintageracer

To Infinity and Beyond!
I wouldn’t touch Oliver way way too much $ for chopper gun tub on wheels
Apparently you have never seen an Oliver in person, watched their construction video's or toured their factory in Hohenwald TN to see how they are constructed!

Expensive?

Yes.

Better than any other fiberglass trailer on the market by far?

Yes

Better than any Airstream for far less money?

Oh Hell Yes!
 

DFNDER

Member
Yeah, I spent some time researching Oliver’s before I lost interest in ever staying at a campground again, and learned some more at expo east just out of curiosity. Doesn’t make me an expert by any means, but Escapes are clearly the budget product in this category and don’t really compare. Value for dollar is in the eye of the beholder, but Oliver is clearly a good step up from the Escapes and the high prices for used units bear that out.
 

calicamper

Expedition Leader
Apparently you have never seen an Oliver in person, watched their construction video's or toured their factory in Hohenwald TN to see how they are constructed!

Expensive?

Yes.

Better than any other fiberglass trailer on the market by far?

Yes

Better than any Airstream for far less money?

Oh Hell Yes!
I’ve been involved in building fiberglass sailboats. Yes I have seen Oliver trailers and how they are built. The shell is chopper gun spray in like all cheaply mass produced glass stuff. Fiber glass truck toppers, large glass bins, trailers etc. Its not economical to do engineered vacuum bagged glass campers so they ALL are chopper gun structures. Some might have hand laid cloth over the inside surface in some areas but they are all chopper gun bins basically. So no Oliver just does a good job of marketing. The power boat business did the same thing they found they could add a liner to hide the chopper gun hull and charge more $ but in reality its still a chopper gun structure and the liner actually complicates access to the outer hull for repairs and systems fixes etc
 

vintageracer

To Infinity and Beyond!
A boat hull is one thing a camper shell is another.

There is no need for a camper to be an engineered vacuum bagged glass structure especially when mounted to a substantial all aluminum chassis such as with the Oliver trailer.

Of course a boat does not have a chassis. The fiberglass hull is the chassis.

Big difference in the structure needs between a fiberglass boat hull and a fiberglass camper shell.
 

Alloy

Well-known member
But doesn't an independent suspension smooth out the ride and help keep the trailer from rattling apart over the years? Have you been to central NV? I am asking as i have no experience with anything other then a solid axel.
I installed IS on my trailer. It's would be great if more trailers (like cars) had it.
 

Buddha.

Finally in expo white.
There’s your 4 season travel trailer. The big ones have two furnaces.
Won’t freeze up even if you’re sitting out on the ice at -30f.
Not sure how the hydraulic suspension works on washboard. Just rip it out and put some torsion axels in.
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