Why a Scamp?
Scamp originated in Minnesota in a little town called Backus, Minnesota. I haven’t been to Backus in a while but last time I was there many years ago before Scamp decided to manufacture there, there wasn’t much to the town. Scamp kind of put them on the map. Now they are sold all over the country and the demand is high. You can buy a Scamp and sell it years later and won’t be out much money. Why? The name itself is a marker for quality construction and there isn’t a heck of a lot of them out there so if you have one, you feel a kinship with other owners as well.
The Scamp is a fiberglass camper that is lightweight and that is they key. With what we paid for our 16′ Scamp, we could have gotten a camper that was much, much bigger but then it comes down to weight and we would need to pull it. The scamp weighs around 2000-2500 lbs. unloaded and we had recently purchased a 2018 Toyota Highlander. We have two dogs that aren’t huge dogs but they aren’t tiny dogs either and we love to travel with them when we can (with our without the camper).
We didn’t want to purchase a truck as we wanted to have a place for our dogs to be comfortable in the back (and not under a topper but rather in the same cab as us) so a truck just wasn’t the answer for us. We can’t pull some of the larger campers with just the Highlander because of the weight restrictions so the Scamp was the answer. It has many things a large camper has but just in a much more reduced space.
There are different designs to the Scamp but we have Layout #4. We also have the two propane tanks up front instead of one.
Things we learned the hard way about the electrical: You must be plugged in for the outlets and air conditioning to work. The lights, fan above the bed, heater, and water pumps will draw from the battery and will draw from the battery regardless of whether or not you are plugged in. Do not leave your fan above the bed running all night or you will wake up to a dead battery and your pumps won’t work.
Tip: We each have our own keychain consisting of the lock for the door, the lock for trailer hitch, and the cable lock for the surge protector. We have hooks by the bed that they get hung up on every night. If one of us were to lose one set of keys, an exact duplicate set is with the other person.
Tip: Do a walk-around your Scamp before you take off. Are the brake lights and turn signals working? Chains attached (the s-hook goes under and not over – to shorten them you also twist them to the desired length if needed so they don’t drag on the ground)? Is your metal stair up? Door is secured? Is the door to the electrical outlet shut all the way and tab slid over (we once didn’t do this and found our electrical cord had started to snake out and was flapping in the wind)? Is the awning secured and locked into place? Are the rear stabilizers up? Did you turn off the hot water heater and turn off the gas at the tanks?
Updates to your vehicle to tow
Brake Controller – this little electronic device will activate your trailer brakes when you brake. This is important as it helps you stop your vehicle. If you have to make a quick stop and you don’t have this device, your vehicle will get pushed further along by the momentum of the trailer so it greatly decreases your stopping distance. If you are going down a steep hill and the trailer starts to sway, you can also apply some pressure on the trailer brakes via a small level on the controller to get the trailer to stop swaying. Your vehicle’s owners manual may tell you that you need a sway bar if you are towing a trailer but you don’t need that if you have the brake controller. It is one or the other in the case of a small Scamp and I would suggest the brake controller.
7-Prong Trailer Hitch Plug – you’ll need this installed on your tow vehicle as this will control the brake lights, turn signals, and brakes on the Scamp.
Trailer Hitch – You’ll need a hitch that is 21″ in height
Like it, love it, must have it
Must Have it
Tochta Mattress – We tried folding down the dinette table and using the cushions to sleep on and it was utterly painful at this age. Maybe if we were thirty years younger, it wouldn’t be a problem but we couldn’t do it so we set out on a quest for the perfect custom-made mattress. We ended up selecting Tochta which makes custom, luxury mattresses. After a brief conversation with them, they e-mailed us directions on how to take the measurements for those rounded corners. We then got to select the type of mattress and exactly how thick we wanted it. We ended up getting the Utopia mattress with one set of custom sheets and a custom mattress cover. You get to choose how thick you want the mattress as well and we went with 8″ thick which was PERFECT! The sheets were super soft and the mattress was perfect in every way. We now always leave the table down and just use that area for the bed. This was the best investment we made to the camper and if you want a comfortable night’s sleep, I highly recommend Tochta.
Microwave Oven – Finding a microwave oven to fit in the cupboard above the refrigerator was a difficult feat but this was the PERFECT size. You are going to want the Black and Decker .7 cubic foot, 700 watt, microwave oven – Black EM720CPN-P. Keep some bubble wrap on hand though as every time you travel or break camp, you must wrap your glass turntable in bubble wrap and stick it back in the microwave.
30 Amp Extension Cord – The cord that comes with the scamp is VERY short. You will use this…a lot.
Surge Protector – Protect your electrical system from the damage that can be caused by brown-outs in a campground. These things are expensive and will disappear if you don’t lock them up though! Cable locks come in handy.
Sewer Hose kit – Yes…the Scamp comes with a sewer hose but a very short one! You’ll need this – I promise you. I store it in an extra-large Ikea plastic shopping bag when I’m done and it goes onto the floor of the shower when we travel. Think about the sidewinder hose support too if you are guiding the hose a good distance.
Pressure Regulator – Protect your plumbing!
RV Toilet Tissue – Don’t leave home without this!
15 to 30 amp converter – If you have electrical at your site but not a 30 amp, you could get by with this at least so you can use the electrical outlets inside the camper.
Holding Tank Treatment and Cleaner – You don’t want to be stuck in the Scamp on a hot summer day when your black water tank heats up and you haven’t treated it so make sure you treat the tank. There’s all sorts of tank drop-in tablets that you can use too.
Trailer Lock – This might not stop somebody from hitching up your Scamp and driving away with it if they really want it but it will sure slow them down and perhaps deter them.
Command strip hooks – We have these everywhere around the camper and use them for lots of various things. There’s a small mirror in a bag that hangs in the kitchen, a fly swatter hangs from another one, keys by the bed, roasting sticks from another, small bathroom items from another hangs in the bathroom, etc.
Fresh Water Hose – Make sure you have one that has a little bit of length to it.
Other things to think of: Tools, small fans (we keep two of them: one for the head of the bed and one for the foot of the bed because the air conditioning can be a bit too cold), power strips (one for each side next to the bed as well so we have extra outlets to plug into), tire gauge, hitch ball lubricant, WD 40, duct tape, camper leveler, scissor jack and lug wrench, extra fuses, disposable gloves (for connecting and disconnecting the sewer hose), small space heater that can adjust to the temp you set it at (in case it is cold weather and you run out of propane), first aid kit, zero gravity chairs, portable air compressor, and a 6′ or 4′ foldable table that can be set up and left outside (we bought ours at Sam’s Club and we leave it pushed up against the camper and often under the awning to set up on).
Bins for clothing – We bought four of these bins. They all fit perfectly under the bed and can hold a lot of clothes (roll them up for the best fit). Two bins for each of us and one of us puts our two bins on the left side and the other on the right.
Over-the-door Organizer and Coat Rack – This is the exact measurement of the organizer you want for the Scamp as it will fit the bathroom door (see link). The pockets are perfect for things like sandals, shoes, bug spray, sunscreen, phones, chargers, etc. We also got a small coat rack as well which is separate hanger that hangs over the top of that. This second rack holds our towels and jackets.
Pop-up Trash Can – Let’s face it…the Scamp isn’t that big so there isn’t a lot of room for garbage cans. I push this down under the back end of the Scamp so half of it is sticking out and we can place the garbage in there during our stay. When it starts to get full, you can then pull it all the way out and it shouldn’t blow away now.
Towel Holders – These fit nicely over the lower cupboard doors for your kitchen towels. They will slide off when you are on the move though so be sure to stow them away when not in use.
Ice Maker – Not going to lie…I love sitting by the fire with a cold drink on a hot summer’s night. This contraption makes ice pretty fast! I’ve found cheaper models at Sam’s Club after the fact though but I don’t know how well they work. This one I can vouch for in that it works pretty slick.
Shark Cordless Vacuum – This thing is great! I don’t need a broom or dustpan with this and if you use space-saver bags on the road, it works great for that as well!
Food Containers – I loved these Rubbermaid Freshworks food containers when we were out on the road as they keep your produce fresher for much longer.
Clothesline – You’re going want a place to hang your beach towels, dish towels, swim suits, wet clothing and if you have a couple of trees in your camp site, this is the perfect solution.
Tableware Set – I love this set as it is made for camping. At first we figured we didn’t need anything like that and just brought paper and Styrofoam disposable items so we wouldn’t have to worry about washing them. WRONG! You need a set like this that won’t break when they are bouncing around in the cupboards and are durable for heavier and hotter items.
Camping Lanterns – Yes the Scamp has lighting inside and out but the outdoor lighting doesn’t go far and these are super bright. We kept these stored in the small storage bins above the bed.
Dehumidifier – sometimes the air is just damp and this comes in super handy on those days/nights.
Other things to maybe think of: Tent stakes (to hold your outdoor rug down if you have one), water filters, fly swatter, picnic table cover with hooks to hold it in place, measuring cups and spoons, kleenex, paper towels, tinfoil, saran wrap, ziplock bags, serving utensils, egg holder, garbage bags (black ones for outdoors and white ones for indoor), small garbage can with a lid that latches (we keep that on the bunk bed for indoor trash and store it in the bathroom when traveling), long-reach butane lighters, cutting board mat, cooking ware (pots and pans), a microwavable cookware container, colander, small toaster oven (can use for toasting or baking), insta-pot, full set of knives, pot holders, corkscrew, scissor, tongs for cooking, can opener, kitchen towels, hatchet, tongs for roasting marshmallows and hotdogs, beach towels and bathroom hand towels, mesh laundry bag for dirty laundry, batteries, flashlights, rain ponchos and umbrellas, small rugs for the floor, a heavy-duty mat outside the door to wipe your shoes on, cleaning supplies (dish soap, spray cleaner, toilet bowl cleaner), something to play your music on, UV lamp (no noise) small bug zapper, small charcoal grill, gas fire pit (if there is a burning ban, this is the only way you will be able to have a camp fire).
When you are done with your trip, make sure you have the following:
Socket for hot-water plug – I found out that neither one of my tool kits had a socket or wrench this size for the hot-water plug so I had to buy them separately. After you are done with your vacation, you don’t want to let the water sit in there for weeks. After it has cooled down after a day or two, remove the plug and leave it off to air it out or it can get pretty funky smelling in there (trust me on this…I almost gagged). Be prepared to get soaked when you remove the plug as the contents are under pressure (and never, ever, remove it while the water is still hot). When you put it back on, you’ll need some plumber’s tape to keep it from leaking.
How to keep organized
The biggest thing that helps us keep organized is leaving the bunk beds up so we have two shelves basically to store our gear on and then we use the large plastic totes. One bin is just for non-perishable food, one holds the small charcoal grill (lighter, and lighter fluid), one holds odds and ends that don’t need to be in the cupboards (they also hold the stuff that stays out once we make camp but we have to have a place to stow it safely until we get there), and one bin holds the insta-pot and all the accessories (if we are bringing it for a longer trip). If we have our dogs with, one bin is just for our dogs. The bins can be moved to your vehicle too if you need more space in the front of the Scamp once you have set up camp.
The rest of everything else is stored in the camper for the most part. Heavier items and all the tools are at the front of Scamp stored in the area under the lower bunk or in the cupboard under the bed. We have a large drawer that is our odds and end drawer basically in that small cupboard (it holds wood blocks, tools, and hardware). It’s important to keep the weight of your load to the front of the camper to keep it from swaying. Our bed in the back is a little heavy so we have to balance that out by putting some more weight in the front.
We don’t keep any food in the cupboards as those are all for storage of kitchen and household items. All the food goes in the big plastic storage bin and refrigerated stuff goes in the fridge. This makes it easy when you get home to unload as well if you keep your food in just a bin. We keep a 3-day cooler as well in the back seat of our Highlander for the majority of our cold beverages as the fridge can only hold so much. We only put 4 cans of flavored water in there at a time so it’s handy and the rest goes in the cooler in the Highlander. If you go with this route, make sure you put an old towel under your cooler as you will be taking it in and out and it gets dirty every time.
We’ve also found these bathroom accessories to be super handy! One hangs on the wall of the shower (which is removed when we shower) and the other gets stowed away in the bunkbed area. The caddy was purchased at Bed, Bath and Beyond and it is nice to use when you decide you want to use the campground facilities instead of the small shower in the camper.
Let me know if you want to share any of your great ideas for your Scamp and/or camping trips by sending me a message in the link below! I would love to hear the ideas you have as well!