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Old 09-18-2019, 09:12 AM   #1
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New 21 for the family

We have a 21 on order and the build sheet is due tomorrow. Wife and I along with 2 boys (8 and 10) will be looking forward to camping in the NW (we live in Beaverton) and planning a trip to Alaska next year for my sabbatical.

It's hard with the choices....what to spend on now, what to plan for later, what little thing am I missing that I will regret later. I built up a travel trailer for use with tent camping which had a sink/water pump, solar, microwave + inverter and charger, etc., so I have experience doing some things myself, but I have a lot of other uses for my time as well so I don't want to buy it with a long punch list of things to do before we feel it is really ready to go. So we are getting solar, A/C, the stove, insulation and frameless windows, and a few other things. The only thing I currently have on my "add later" list would be an inverter, which I already have 3 of them so I hate to buy another. I probably wouldn't wire it into the existing A/C, just add one or two dedicated plugs somewhere easy to wire. Then of course there are all the little mods that we've seen on the forum, but those can come little by little.

We are buying sight unseen. We made a couple of calls to people who had them to show in the area but weren't able to put something together quickly, so we just went ahead. We went to the RV show last weekend and let the kids climb through every $400K motorhome and giant 5th wheel they wanted...I'm pretty sure they will be a bit "underwhelmed" when they see our new trailer for the 1st time, but it's a nice step up from the tent camping they are used to anyway (although our tent camping was pretty actually pretty luxurious with a huge tent + separate huge tent for the picnic table, heated shower, etc. - the problem was it took 2 hours to put everything up and take it down!). Anyway it would have been nice if there was something even close to an Escape (and they did mention Escape and Bigfoot as brands represented in their marketing), but oh well, we've done the research enough to have confidence with our purchase decision.

We will be towing it with our Land Rover LR4 which is rated for ~7500lbs and 550 on the hitch, so I think that should be ok. The LR4 is getting up there in miles but has some good life left in her I think. The air suspension doesn't allow WD hitches but that just means I have to make sure I eat enough cookies to keep some weight on the front.

Looking forward to participating in this site to get and possibly even give some advice from time to time, as well as just sharing adventures. Thanks for all that we've learned already.
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Old 09-18-2019, 10:34 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by daniel108 View Post
We will be towing it with our Land Rover LR4 which is rated for ~7500lbs and 550 on the hitch, so I think that should be ok. The LR4 is getting up there in miles but has some good life left in her I think. The air suspension doesn't allow WD hitches but that just means I have to make sure I eat enough cookies to keep some weight on the front.
The tongue weight may come to bite you.

My trailer tongue weight is about 700 lbs. At the last Quartzite, a sample measurement of tongue weights had the lowest at 550 - most were more than that.
Tongue Weight on E21

Jim (cpaharley2008) says his tongue weight is 625 lbs and is a new 21'.
WDH Cons

550 lb limit for tongue weight seems to be marginal - good luck.
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Old 09-18-2019, 11:58 AM   #3
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I am pretty sure the kids will be excited when they discover your new Escape in your driveway. You all are going to love it.
Hope you have the storage box on your build sheet as well? Always handy for extra and dirty stuff. Especially when camping with kids.
Alaska is on our bucket list some day. Has to be beautiful there. Enjoy!!
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Old 09-18-2019, 12:28 PM   #4
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Yeah it is a bit of a concern. The GVWR of the trailer itself is 5000, so that would give me a budget of 11% for the tongue, which should be about right. So either everyone is overloading their trailers or they are putting more weight up front than necessary. I'll have to scale things carefully, but then again I'm pretty sure there are a lot of 21's being towed with lesser vehicles.

Another thing to watch is the total axle load for the truck rear axle. If we put the full 550 lbs on the hitch it would mean little or nothing in the rear cargo area of the LR4. But then I'm an engineer which is a double edge sword - on the one hand I understand specifications and try to follow them while others may just go in blind, on the other hand, I know that most specifications are padded significantly when there are any safety/liability concerns.
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Old 09-18-2019, 12:30 PM   #5
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Ah if only I had a driveway big enough to hold it! I was able to get the free cargo box deal so we have that. But as said in the previous post, I'll have to watch tongue weight carefully so I may be limited on what I can put in their while we are on the move.
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Old 09-18-2019, 12:49 PM   #6
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One thing that you may want to consider with the kiddos who I'm assuming will be using the dinette as a bed is the counter extensions option in the dinette area. We tend to leave the dinette down during the day as a lounge area and we use the picnic table outside as our dining table at the campsite. It's the one thing I wish we would have added but didn't-just a surface to put things on. We also got custom fabric and went with a vinyl- super durable and you can wipe it down. We got most of the same options as you. We got the trailer wired for solar which was cheaper, and we then have the option to add it later. We got the bathroom window, but could've lived without it. We are pretty outdoorsy and the exterior shower is very useful when we get sandy or muddy, although one could use a portable solar shower instead.
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Old 09-18-2019, 03:11 PM   #7
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Sounds like we are pretty similarly set up. I was on the fence on the solar, but decided to have ETI add it because I didn't want to deal with attaching the panel myself, and the panel I already have is lower wattage. We haven't been much for boondocking with our tent setup so with already having the dual battery I'm not so sure how badly we will need the solar. But then I did some math on the refrigerator draw and how much we would need to drive each day to maintain the batteries without ever plugging in, and decided to just get the solar. One less thing for me to have to do myself. The AC was another one like that...we probably could get by without it at least initially but if we are going to have it eventually why not just do it.

We did also get the outside shower (passenger side) since it was pretty cheap. I see your point on the extensions...need some place to hold your drink! I considered a vinyl fabric for the same reason but I'm concerned it might not breathe as well for sleeping...time will tell who winds up with the big bed and who sleeps on the dinette....I"m lowest on the totem pole now that our dogs are gone, and the kids are always last to get up. We went with the standard dinette based on advice from this forum that the U would have less seating and table room, and I suppose we can adjust that later if we want to. We also went with just the standard table poles which I suppose I will pay the price for every day but I can live with it. We did get the bathroom window as well.
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Old 09-18-2019, 03:14 PM   #8
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Daniel I’m in Hillsboro if you want to see a 2014 21
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Old 09-24-2019, 12:04 PM   #9
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what to get??

Our 21 is in production and we plan to tow w our V6 Frontier dbl cab, long bed truck.
we orderd WD hitch w sway bar, extra wardrobe cabinet.. had both put on top on driver side.., moved MW to under range and old MW cabinet to under one wardrobe. Extra 120 and 12V outlets near dinette, reading lites in dinette, dbl size kitchen sink{we order and shipped to ETI], 3 flip up counter extensions, solar wired in(we have solar panels), disconnect on the 30 amp cord, front sto box, dark frameless windows w insulation and a front window and BR window. AC and filled propane tanks.
ETI will install 3 UMBRA hook sets on pickup day. WE already have solar panels, a 2200W generator/invertor and a separate invertor IF we need it(doubt). Should be good to go. Be sure to ask for extra insulation and flip out windows..(open in rain) and a front storage box. welcome to the forum!

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Old 10-06-2019, 11:26 AM   #10
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Welcome

We have a 21 and 2 kids as well. We have convinced them that sleeping in the tent is great as they have their own space. We just got a crazy tree tent for them to make sleeping outside even better. Tentsile Stingray. They get upset now when we are on the move and they have to sleep inside since it doesn't make setting up and taking down a tent each day practical.
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Old 10-08-2019, 10:05 PM   #11
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Tentsile Stingray.
Learned something new today, had not heard of this before. Looks like something the youngsters would love!!
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Old 10-09-2019, 09:02 AM   #12
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We have a 21 and 2 kids as well. We have convinced them that sleeping in the tent is great as they have their own space. We just got a crazy tree tent for them to make sleeping outside even better. Tentsile Stingray. They get upset now when we are on the move and they have to sleep inside since it doesn't make setting up and taking down a tent each day practical.
It is a cool tent. I find that it is sometimes challenging finding campsites with suitable trees for an ordinary hammock, let alone three trees for the Tentsile Stingray. Also, there are many campgrounds that do not let you tie anything to the trees (clotheslines, hammocks, etc), so it is sometimes challenging to use a hammock.
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Old 10-22-2019, 02:58 PM   #13
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That's a neat tent. With like 5 tents in my garage already I'll have to make do with what I have though! Kids are still pretty sure there are monsters that come out when mommy or daddy aren't around, so it will be a few years yet...hopefully by that point they can put up the tent themselves!

I have my old 8x5x6 cargo trailer in my garage that we used to use for tent camping and I'll have to decide whether to keep it or let it go. It's had a lot of mods....cabinets and shelves, a sink with pump, microwave running off an inverter and solar, all attached with e-track so I can convert it back to cargo usage easily. Still more to do on it but I feel like it would be a shame to let it go. On the other hand, we have so much tent camping gear and I'm not sure how much we will use it anymore once we get spoiled by the Escape. It was taking like 2 hours for fully setting up camp and another 2 to break it....with "help" from the little guys of course :-). I'd like to bring our backpack tent for Wonder Lake in Denali but it seems I have some selling to do before that gets a "go".
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Old 10-22-2019, 04:51 PM   #14
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Your trip to Denali NP.

The premier RV campground in Denali is the Teklanika River CG.
https://www.nps.gov/dena/planyourvis...ground-tek.htm

Reservations for next year open in December and they go pretty much instantly.
Get your reservations then plan the rest of your trip around that. The kids will be fascinated by the environment.
We were last there in '99 and they had a hard-sided-camper rule in effect. A pack of wolves was coming through the general area at night looking for food.

Tongue weight.
For reasons not unlike yours, I have a goal for out 21' of from 460# to 480# and never 500#. A Sherline scale is the only way to know. Anything else is a guess.

https://www.amazon.com/Sherline-LM-1.../dp/B007REJTGI

I used the scale shifting stuff fore and aft to achieve my desired tongue weight.

Enjoy your travels.

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Old 10-22-2019, 07:36 PM   #15
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I was wondering if I could use a 700# bathroom scale for tongue weight...might prove to have other uses and a little bit cheaper.
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...OVR29ETC&psc=1

We were thinking Tek with the trailer but we (I) might want to do some backcountry as well so that would require the tent.
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Old 10-22-2019, 07:54 PM   #16
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I was wondering if I could use a 700# bathroom scale for tongue weight...might prove to have other uses and a little bit cheaper.
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...OVR29ETC&psc=1

I'd spend a few dollars more for the Sherline. It's compact and sturdier. Doesn't take batteries and doesn't talk back to you.
If you do choose to go with a bathroom scale, spread the weight of the jack foot with a piece of plywood. I didn't and now have a Sherline and a new bathroom scale.
If you order a Sherline, specify the 1,000 lb. gauge ( rather than the standard 2,000 ). The scale is more accurate in the middle of the range ( about the weight of your tongue ) and easier to read.
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Old 10-22-2019, 08:13 PM   #17
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We ordered eight unseen, sort of

We have a 19í on order, never been to BC, never seen a 19í. We did own a 2007 EST 17B though. Great trailer, I just wanted a little more room and a 8Ē mattress.

We sold the 4RUNNER, so if need be, the boys can sleep in the new Tundra DC, has a 6.5í bed. When they were younger and shorter, one would sleep in the Tacoma. We always parked so we were within talking distance, windows open. Sometimes they would tent.

Ditch the LR, get a Tundra double cab. Big bed for sleeping and all the toys. The kids will grow up fast, they will need more room.
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Old 10-23-2019, 11:23 AM   #18
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Where are you going to install the UMBRA hooks on your new 21ft?
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Old 10-23-2019, 11:27 AM   #19
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Yeah a Tundra would be nice but as long as the LR keeps doing her job I'll stay with her. I am sort of wondering what happens when it breaks down somewhere around Fairbanks and the nearest place that can fix it is Vancouver though...it would be totaled for the tow! If they ever get around to updating the Sequoia, which is essentially a Tundra, I expect it will be a good choice.
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Old 10-23-2019, 06:05 PM   #20
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We were thinking Tek with the trailer but we (I) might want to do some backcountry as well so that would require the tent.
People in sleeping bags are the soft tacos of the grizzly world.

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