Fiberglass campers are compact, easy to tow, and look great.
However, not everything is positive about these campers.
The following are the 4 most common problems with fiberglass campers you should know about before purchasing one:
1. Lack of Living Space and Features
If you are committed to buying a fiberglass camper, then you have to get comfortable with the lack of living space and amenities that come with it.
Most fiberglass campers come in three size categories, 13-foot, 17 to 19 feet, or 21 to 25 feet.
Even the largest or tallest of campers don’t provide enough living space.
This lack of living space is a significant factor for the lack of other amenities like a bathroom.
The lack of living space is a huge problem, especially for families, as families usually have more members.
Families and couples and groups who travel a lot and go RVing full time will also find the living space non comfortably enough. But there is a justifiably good reason for not manufacturing taller or longer fiberglass campers.
Fiberglass doesn’t usually flex or bend easily if it ever even does.
That is why manufacturers don’t make longer and taller fiberglass campers, as they are more prone to breaking in high tension situations.
Although these campers’ small and compact design does look great, it doesn’t change the fact that the living space is not enough.
Most fiberglass campers or most old models of fiberglass campers do not provide bathroom or wet baths.
It’s a huge problem for people not used to dry bathing. Some newer and more recent models feature a bathroom, but it’s too small, making it uncomfortable.
You can manage wet baths separately on your camping location, but it involves a lot of extra work.
2. Delamination is a Huge Problem in Fiberglass Campers
Delamination is a well-known and pretty common problem in fiberglass campers.
There could be multiple factors and causes for delamination, but the base factor will remain “leaking.”
Even fiberglass campers have their drawbacks concerning leaks, but not the same as other campers. The design of these campers is pretty good and is made not to rot. The round corners and bodies of these campers help prevent the water from rainfall to gather and collect on the roof.
However, that doesn’t mean a leak will not occur. Usually, in fiberglass campers, the leak occurs within the wall causing the panel to peel off over time.
The water will leak in between the fiberglass and wood surface, causing delamination.
Delamination is even more common in used campers. When buying a used fiberglass camper, looking for signs of crack, waves, and bubbles in the wall can help you predict if delamination will occur soon.
It is crucial to fix or repair your camper while you still can, as once delamination occurs, repairing can be very costly.
In some cases, you may have to replace the entire wall of the camper. Not only used models but brand-new campers may also have these similar flaws.
Customers are complaining about delamination after the second or third use after buying it from their dealer.
3. Do not Allow Customization
Most of the amenities inside fiberglass campers are made up of fiberglass itself, which means you cannot replace, modify, or customize anything.
This may not seem like a huge disadvantage, but full-time campers and experienced campers know how essential customization is.
It allows you to upgrade your camper or modify it according to your needs without actually having to buy a new one. But in a fiberglass camper, you keep it as you got it.
The following are the two most common parts of a camper that people usually modify or replace.
A lot of people customize the dining seating arrangement as they want it to be.
In fiberglass campers, you will get your dining table and chairs made up of fiberglass, which means there is no way you can customize it as you want.
Couch or Bed
Many people replace their couch or bed with better versions, but once again, not possible with fiberglass campers.
4. Costly to Repair and Maintain It
When it comes to dents and scratches, fiberglass campers are much more vulnerable than any other camper.
When going camping, you are bound to get in one or two bumpy roads with many obstacles.
Regular aluminum body campers would most probably get through these obstacles without causing much damage, but fiberglass campers get easily broken, cracked, and scratched.
On top of all this, these damages are much more visible in fiberglass than it is in aluminum.
Depending on the type of damage inflicted on the camper, your warranty may or may not cover it. The worst part is that it is crazy expensive to repair fiberglass.
These factors add up and result in much more expenses for these campers than one might initially think.
The following are the two most common kinds of damage that most campers get.
When talking about accidents, we don’t mean serious accidents.
The small incidents like some other vehicle or something hitting our camper are what we refer to as accidents.
Unfortunately, in these small accidents, your fiberglass can easily get broken or cracked, leaving a spiderweb-like crack.
Most people do not have the skills or experience needed to deal with such situations. Even if someone does know what to do, it will still cost them a lot of money to repair.
Scratches and Scrape Marks
This is the most common type of damage is not only fiberglass campers but in all campers.
However, it is much easier to get scratches and scrape marks on your camper’s body if it is made up of fiberglass.
Even the slightest touch of tree branches can cause visible scratches.
General Pros and Con for the Fiberglass Campers
Fiberglass campers are generally pretty small in size, compact, and lightweight.
The lightweight of fiberglass campers allows you to tow it with any vehicle. It does not require any fancy truck or car to tow it.
Unlike most campers, you will encounter fewer roof leaks and wall leaks due to damage and cracks caused by rust. Molded fiberglass construction makes them less prone to damage and rust by rain and water.
Fiberglass is a material known for keeping sound in, which means no sound inside the camper will go out, and no sound outside the camper will come in.
Fiberglass campers are well known for lasting long. It will hold its value, quality, and look till a long time, where most other campers do not last more than five years.
Some customers are using these for more than 20 years. It increases their resale value by a lot.
Except for the factor of size, most fiberglass campers cost less or the same as a regular-sized camper with an aluminum body.
- Lack of living space and features.
- Delamination is a huge problem in fiberglass campers.
- Do not allow customization.
- It is very costly to repair and maintain it.
What Do the Reviews Say?
“Fiberglass wins hands-down in durability, shine, and cleanliness. However, aluminum sided campers have been and will be, around forever. In my opinion, it’s a matter of what the buyer prefers. This is especially true if the cost is not an issue.”
According to these reviewers, both kinds of campers have their pros and cons.
If cost or budget is not an issue for the buyer, it’s just a matter of preference. However, they also mention that Fiberglass is the clear winner when it comes to durability and longevity.
According to him/her, the reviewer adds that aluminum body campers have their place in the market and the world of camping and RVing, as they have been and will be around forever.
“Its cleanliness and resale value make up for the initial price, and the gas mileage savings don’t hurt either when you are searching in the Travel Trailer market. But aluminum has its virtues, too. If you’re dipping your foot into the world of RVing, an aluminum model might be better to consider.”
Conflicting with the first review, this reviewer states that aluminum models are the better option for beginners and newbies in the market.
However, they mention some perks of having a fiberglass camper and how the initial cost is worth its benefits in the long run.
Cleanliness, quality, and longevity, along with the savings in gas mileage, may convince one to choose fiberglass over any other material.
What’s the Resale Value On Fiberglass Campers?
|Model||Year||New Price ($)||Used Price ($)|
|Casita 17 Spirit||2017||21,799||18,500|
|Scamp Kodiak Thor 19FL||2007||5360||4199|
|Airstream Nest 16U||2020||Not Available||37,500|
Judging by the pros and cons, it seems that fiberglass campers are not ideal for beginners or the perfect choice for regular campers.
Morten is the founder of GoDownsize. He has filmed and interviewed people living in tiny houses and RVs since 2011. He grew up on the coast where his dad took him boating from a young age. He has completely rebuilt two RVs in which he travels with his family for months at the time. Read more about Morten here.