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Old 10-16-2020, 08:23 PM   #1
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Any NON-WOOD travel trailers still being made?

After my recent rebuild issues on my TT I began looking forward to what I might purchase next.. and came upon Living Lite all aluminum campers. Man they looked cool.

Until Thor/KZ took them over and chloroformed the whole line, IMHO because it was too much to compete against their rotting chipboard units.

Anyway, is anyone else still forward thinking, or is the future only endless tubes of Lap Sealant and nervous mornings worrying about threats like dew and mold and rot?
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Old 10-16-2020, 10:40 PM   #2
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My Outdoors RV has aluminum framing in the walls but does have some wood trusses and the roof deck and floor are Marine grade plywood. They do not use ANY reclaimed wood products or any kind of particle board. Just hardwood cabinets and marine grade plywood. No chipboard to swell and disintegrate the first time it gets wet.
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Old 10-16-2020, 11:06 PM   #3
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You definitely speak my language. Not a fan of wood, or fiberglass batten insulation in RVís. Yes, itís good in stationary homes with proper venting, and vapor barriers. Anything that is affected by moisture has no use in an RV.

Casita, Oliver, and Bigfoot were brands that immediately took my interest when looking a TTís. They are constructed with a fiberglass shell, and are not affected by moisture. But you make sacrifices in floor plan and storage. No trailer can stand up to them when it comes to longevity.

I ended up with a Lance, as they have Azdel as a substrate, and interior board on their walls. Fully insulated with laminated foam board. But the floors, and roof are still laminated using 1/4Ē plywood. They have the ability, and materials to do better.

Like you, I donít understand why manufacturers donít invest a little more in materials to make their products more durable, and last a lot longer. There is composite materials available for flooring, PVC roofs that are reflective, and more durable, Azdel that greatly reduces delamination. But like anything else it all comes at a price point, that many donít see the benefits, until it affects them personally.
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Old 10-17-2020, 03:14 PM   #4
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Add Escape and Airstream brands.
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Old 10-17-2020, 03:49 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bneukam View Post
You definitely speak my language. Not a fan of wood, or fiberglass batten insulation in RV’s. Yes, it’s good in stationary homes with proper venting, and vapor barriers. Anything that is affected by moisture has no use in an RV.

Casita, Oliver, and Bigfoot were brands that immediately took my interest when looking a TT’s. They are constructed with a fiberglass shell, and are not affected by moisture. But you make sacrifices in floor plan and storage. No trailer can stand up to them when it comes to longevity.

I ended up with a Lance, as they have Azdel as a substrate, and interior board on their walls. Fully insulated with laminated foam board. But the floors, and roof are still laminated using 1/4” plywood. They have the ability, and materials to do better.

Like you, I don’t understand why manufacturers don’t invest a little more in materials to make their products more durable, and last a lot longer. There is composite materials available for flooring, PVC roofs that are reflective, and more durable, Azdel that greatly reduces delamination. But like anything else it all comes at a price point, that many don’t see the benefits, until it affects them personally.
Add Escape & Scamp to the molded fiberglass "eggs". There is a wide range of sizes available from as small as a 13' to as large as 25'. An incredible amount of storage in my Escape 21C, although many would complain about a wet bath...
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Old 10-17-2020, 03:58 PM   #6
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Agree, my bad about not adding Escape, and Scamp.
But the last I checked Airstream was still using batten insulation. That stuff gets smelly from years of water vapor, and occasional leaks. From what I hear can be pretty common on them.
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Old 10-17-2020, 05:06 PM   #7
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No wood? No problem!

No wood in the walls, roof, or floor was one of the reasons we bought an Evergreen (now closed) Element in March of 2012. We now have 93,500 miles on Ms Ellie (Mississippi Element) and will FINALLY be heading out for a week of camping on Monday. Covid be damned!
Anyway, the sales pitch from Evergreen concerning the "no wood" was certainly one of the reasons we bought beside the awesome (in our opinion) styling and design. There are a number of different Evergreen models....Ever-lite, I-Go, Ascend, and others. Being an "orphan" brand shouldn't stop you from looking. All the appliances, axles, etc., are still available from numerous outlets.
I'm not 100% sure, but think Earthbound (also out of business) made wood free trailers.
Good luck in your search!!
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Old 10-18-2020, 09:17 AM   #8
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Was the 'Egg' all fiberglass trailer mentioned? Top and bottom shells are fiberglass.
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Old 10-18-2020, 09:28 AM   #9
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An Airstream travel trailer comes with a steel frame, space-age composite flooring, and semimonocoque aluminum body held together with rivets. Structurally, there is no wood to be found anywhere...and no cardboard or staples or fiberglass either.

There is wood--but only in the cabinets. And it's real wood at that, with either laminated birch plywood in some trims or bonafide solid hardwood on the high-end trims.
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Old 10-21-2020, 07:02 PM   #10
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I have bee researching this topic for several year and it all boils down to COST ! (No surprise.)

Several years ago, some manufacturers tried honeycomb composite flooring, The did not add any additional flooring support and the flexing of the composite became objectionable within a few years. Adding some more support would have cured the problem, but that added $$$ to the bottom line and customers spread the word that composite floor was "no good".

Aluminum trusses are doable and would save weight but again, $$$

Plywood roof decking is still the standard. The only other choice would be aluminum or fiberglass. Too avoid a wood a underlayment would require thicker aluminum or fiberglass and $$$ !

While Azdel and Filon have solved the non-organic wall issue, you tend to only find it on the "premium" trailer. Coachmen, who is one of the biggest proponents of Azdel, does not use it on all 4 walls or the roof.


So would you have an extra $5K for no-wood construction ? How about $10K ? What would your expectations be on the warranty (minus appliance) ? 5 years ? 10 years ?

Careful selection of materials, extra structural members where required and a 5 year warranty would get me laying down an extra $5k in a minute if that included no water intrusion.
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Old 10-22-2020, 10:49 AM   #11
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Mine has no wood except for interior cabinets.

The aluminum frames may look stronger on paper, but most TT builders only spot weld the square tubing on two sides, so it's not all that strong. I don't know why these guys can't spend a little more time and at least spot weld on 4 sides.
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Old 10-22-2020, 11:50 AM   #12
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Any NON-WOOD travel trailers still being made?

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Mine has no wood except for interior cabinets.

The aluminum frames may look stronger on paper, but most TT builders only spot weld the square tubing on two sides, so it's not all that strong. I don't know why these guys can't spend a little more time and at least spot weld on 4 sides.


What are the walls laminated with? Whatís the roof vacuum bonded with?

Most manufacturers use aluminum studs. But they are laminated with Luan for the walls, and thin plywood for the floor, and roof. Both can easily rot, and have separation issues between the layers of wood.

Itís the lamination process that gives the wall its strength. Trailers now have very minimal framing.

Manufacturers that donít laminate their floor and roof will use more framing and heavier sheathing, in these areas to provide the strength needed.

Having owned a Class C for 15 years you wonít start seeing the breakdown of these materials until after 10 years. Depending on how it was maintained will greatly depend on its longevity. Even though I maintained that class C it still had delamination in several spots that kept growing each year.

One of the best things you can do for any RV is store it under a covered structure while not in use.
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Old 10-22-2020, 11:57 AM   #13
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I think most floors of trailers I look at have 5/8" plywood tongue and groove flooring.

I went to the Airstream Factory a few year ago and agree they use the least amout of wood of any manufacturer. But I think their floors are or were plywood.
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Old 10-22-2020, 04:37 PM   #14
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Quote:
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Mine has no wood except for interior cabinets.

The aluminum frames may look stronger on paper, but most TT builders only spot weld the square tubing on two sides, so it's not all that strong. I don't know why these guys can't spend a little more time and at least spot weld on 4 sides.
Usually only 2 sides are welded. Doing the outside and inside would create a bump from the weld bead.
Unless they dd things different yours has would on the laminated roof and 5/8" T&G for the floor.
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