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Old 06-11-2012, 11:58 AM   #1
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Upkeep/durability of aluminum Camplite Trailer?

CampLite All Aluminum Travel Trailer Overview by LivinLite

Camplite makes 16' (19 ft. overall) all-aluminum trailer. It uses aluminum frame and flooring. It has painted aluminum skin, not sure how attached to frame, but not riveted. The 16DB model has choice of wall unit air conditioner or roof air. It has rear dry bath, and IMO a nice floorplan. Evidently this company has built snowmobile trailers since the early '70s using aluminum construction.



Without going into the aesthetics of the unit (its clearly no Airstream), does anyone see any any issues with the construction that would lead to excessive maintenance? At least off the top of my head it looks like it would be as maintenance free as any RV. No floor to rot, less filiform issues, could be repaired in many body shops, standard auto paint, small and simple, etc.

So bring me down to earth on this. What can go wrong? Frame cracking? I haven't seen issues with their other trailers on the web. Can frame easily be repaired? Poor design or quality control can always rear its ugly head. What else?
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Old 06-11-2012, 03:48 PM   #2
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That band that goes over the top is a common leak point. Where the walls meet the roof at a 90 degree angle. It is probably an aluminum strip with holes every couple of inches and it is usually sealed with gum tape which leaks about 5 mins after it is put on. The frame maybe aluminum but the interior is wood and you need to protect that from leaks. I would not worry about the frame cracking since it is so new. Just keep her dry and preferably under cover.

Perry
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Old 06-11-2012, 04:01 PM   #3
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Interesting construction...they use no wood...see the video on their website ... CampLite All Aluminum Travel Trailer Overview by LivinLite
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Old 06-11-2012, 04:17 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by perryg114 View Post
That band that goes over the top is a common leak point. Where the walls meet the roof at a 90 degree angle. It is probably an aluminum strip with holes every couple of inches and it is usually sealed with gum tape which leaks about 5 mins after it is put on. The frame maybe aluminum but the interior is wood and you need to protect that from leaks. I would not worry about the frame cracking since it is so new. Just keep her dry and preferably under cover.

Perry
Interior cabinetry is aluminum too. I believe these are the same guys that also built the aluminum frame and cabinet popup. The cushions are made with vinyl covering like you would see on a pontoon boat.

I will have to look at the wall to roof connection the next time I see one.

Aaron
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Old 06-11-2012, 04:21 PM   #5
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Looks like a nice little basic "camping" trailer, not something I would want to live in for very long. Certainly not a head turner like an Airstream. With the construction and materials I would bet fairly worry free.
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Old 06-11-2012, 05:43 PM   #6
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I stand corrected. They appear to be very well built. I like the no wood construction. They look to be a bit spartan but that is why you camp. You don't want your interior to be so comfortable you never go outside.

Perry

Quote:
Originally Posted by perryg114 View Post
That band that goes over the top is a common leak point. Where the walls meet the roof at a 90 degree angle. It is probably an aluminum strip with holes every couple of inches and it is usually sealed with gum tape which leaks about 5 mins after it is put on. The frame maybe aluminum but the interior is wood and you need to protect that from leaks. I would not worry about the frame cracking since it is so new. Just keep her dry and preferably under cover.

Perry
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Old 06-13-2012, 12:04 AM   #7
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I will view the 16db in a couple weeks when it comes into the local dealer (unit special ordered for someone) and report back. I'd like to hear more about the roof to sidewall connection and I'll ask some questions. I made an email inquiry and found out one could walk on the roof for maintenance purposes. The batteries are in the standard location on trailer tongue. I'm not looking to replace Airstream now, just kind of thinking ahead. I travel solo, don't find I need the full 25' and probably don't use the trailer as much as some here (life circumstances). If I make another purchase I'd like to improve my use/enjoyment vs. upkeep ratio.
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Old 06-13-2012, 08:54 AM   #8
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Who knows how it will hold up in the long run, and that may be its greatest problem. Do you want to pay big dollars to test their product with no chance of a refund if it doesn't work out?

Your immediate disappointment after towing Airstream will be its shape is not aerodynamic, when subjected to crosswind and headwind.

Can you set aside appearance? Looks like a utility trailer maybe best suited to be pulled behind a phone company service truck.

doug k
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Old 11-07-2012, 12:59 AM   #9
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I recently looked at a couple of different Camplite models in Dewey, AZ. I'm not sure, but the outside skins may be welded on. The dealer has a couple of units that he rents out, primarily to hunters; and these are driven on back roads a lot. One of them had just been returned, and it was covered in mud.

He said he likes Camplite, because they take a lot of abuse, being rentals and driven mostly on dirt roads and off-road. And, they require no repair and very little more than routine maintenance and clean-up. They are very popular rentals, with each unit being out about half of the weeks/weekends each year (he sells them off every year when the new models come out). The one we looked at showed some wear, being a year old; but it was still in very good shape.

The insides have all of the essential appliances that most travel trailers have (stove, furnace, air conditioner, microwave, hot water heater, etc.), because he orders them with all options installed. However, they look spartan and utilitarian -- No linen tablecloth, candles or wine glasses in these. In fact, they look a little like upgraded construction trailers on the inside. Also, everything looked kind of "lightweight" (and cheap) compared to an Airstream.

I don't mean to sound negative; they are functional and would suit "campers" well. But, my wife and I wouldn't consider one as a replacement for our Bambi. The following are a few observations:

* The wheels were 13-inch and looked really small, with off-brand tires that I have never heard of; but they were probably adequate since the trailer is so light. I noticed in the sales literature that it has Dexter axles on it, and the wheels looked like Sendel T02's.

* Regular electric brakes and breakaway switch were present.

* It only had one 20-pound propane tank (common size for barbecues). I would have preferred two tanks, and maybe 30-pounders. The owner said that the trailers were well insulated, but that isn't much propane for winter camping.

* It has separate fresh, gray and black water tanks with dump valves and fittings that looked like those on most RVs (including Airstreams). Capacities were small, but probably adequate.

* Wet bath (sit on toilet to take shower) was a tight fit, though functional. They didn't have the model with a separate shower, available to view. Evidently, most hunters aren't concerned about taking showers.

One interesting note, the tongue weight seemed to be around 10-20 pounds; and my wife could easily lift it with one hand. The owner explained that the light tongue weight was due to the way the trailer was balanced on the axle(s), which allows it to be "pulled" by really small vehicles like the MG Mini. Thus, the tow vehicle doesn't support any of the weight of the trailer, and it does not need a WD or anti-sway hitch. This kind of goes against conventional wisdom, and I am unsure how this would affect stability at highway speeds or in a strong side wind. Seems like one would want a little weight on the tongue, so it doesn't wag the dog.

In any case, it seems to be a well-built, curious, little travel trailer. If I didn't already own our Bambi, I might rent it for a weekend to see what it's like. But, I guess we'll have to wait until someone else can take one for a test drive...

Note: I think they rent for around $50 or $60 per day, which seems like a bargain.
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Old 11-07-2012, 09:54 AM   #10
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Hmmmm... let us know how they tow ...
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Old 11-07-2012, 10:46 AM   #11
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Now you get condensation in the cabinets too?????????

No mention of thermal breaks.

2011 CampLite All Aluminum Travel Trailer by LivinLite - YouTube

I like the idea of renting one first. Soon we will be able to rent an Airstream before purchase.

Dave
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Old 04-15-2015, 12:33 PM   #12
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Comments From A Livin' Lite Owner - 2014 Camplite 21RBS

Let me start by stating I've previously owned 2 airstream Travel Trailers; a '95 28' Excella, and a '67 22' Bambi.

After we sold the Bambi we were in the market for a "Newer" airstream, or so we thought. During the course of my online research I began to read a number of articles about the Livin' Lite camper. The more I read the more I liked what I read.

In 2014 we decide to buy a 2014 Camp-lite 21RBS model. We used it for the balance of the 2014 camping season making a half dozen trips in it and have began to use it now in 2015.

We owned our Airstreams for a combined total of about 7 years, towing the Excella 2-3 K each year from Kansas to the Rio Grand Valley in deep south Texas where we would live in the trailer for the 3 month winter season. The Bambi we used one year to travel for 5 weeks from Kansas to Washington State to Colorado and back home. Both were very comfortable.

I'm a handyman and do most of my maintenance / repair myself so I'm familiar with working on Airstream and the quality of the product.

So far I'm quite pleased with the Camp-lite...it is well constructed and IF there are maintenance / repairs to be made with the way the Camp-lite is constructed it will be easy to accomplish, my experience was that's not always the case with an Airstream. Since I've owned a Vintage Airstream I can also say I'm familiar with wood rot / metal rot...the Camp-lite has Eliminated these 2 issues. On the lighter side, the Camp-Lite comes with a free outdoor temperature thermometer...when your bare feet hit that aluminum flooring when you hope out of bed you immediately know whether it's cold out or not!

I hope this information is helpful. At this point ( a year into Camp-Lite ownership) I would absolutely buy another one without reservation.
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Old 04-15-2015, 12:57 PM   #13
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They also make a nice little slide in truck camper. It is also all metal and composit material...no wood at all and very light weight compared to other truck campers of similar size.
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Old 06-21-2016, 09:42 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by garyrinehart View Post
Let me start by stating I've previously owned 2 airstream Travel Trailers; a '95 28' Excella, and a '67 22' Bambi.

After we sold the Bambi we were in the market for a "Newer" airstream, or so we thought. During the course of my online research I began to read a number of articles about the Livin' Lite camper. The more I read the more I liked what I read.

In 2014 we decide to buy a 2014 Camp-lite 21RBS model. We used it for the balance of the 2014 camping season making a half dozen trips in it and have began to use it now in 2015.

We owned our Airstreams for a combined total of about 7 years, towing the Excella 2-3 K each year from Kansas to the Rio Grand Valley in deep south Texas where we would live in the trailer for the 3 month winter season. The Bambi we used one year to travel for 5 weeks from Kansas to Washington State to Colorado and back home. Both were very comfortable.

I'm a handyman and do most of my maintenance / repair myself so I'm familiar with working on Airstream and the quality of the product.

So far I'm quite pleased with the Camp-lite...it is well constructed and IF there are maintenance / repairs to be made with the way the Camp-lite is constructed it will be easy to accomplish, my experience was that's not always the case with an Airstream. Since I've owned a Vintage Airstream I can also say I'm familiar with wood rot / metal rot...the Camp-lite has Eliminated these 2 issues. On the lighter side, the Camp-Lite comes with a free outdoor temperature thermometer...when your bare feet hit that aluminum flooring when you hope out of bed you immediately know whether it's cold out or not!

I hope this information is helpful. At this point ( a year into Camp-Lite ownership) I would absolutely buy another one without reservation.
I am interested in purchasing a "starter" for my 5 children and their families to use and have considered a Camplite 21bhs. Can anyone add any experienced wisdom to the durability, repairability and basic satisfaction of these trailers?
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