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Old 01-26-2019, 09:32 PM   #1
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new member. new escape 21. completion date May 28

Hello out there.
We are in the process of finalizing the options for our 21-foot escape- to be built for May 28. We are not new to camping (backcountry canoe camping, backpacking) but relatively new to today's RVing. Without experience at this is it hard to sort through some of the options available. We live on Vancouver Island and would likely use a variety of sites, including unserviced forestry sites accessible by rougher roads. Some of the options would seem obvious choices for most people, but here are some we would appreciate advice about:
1. Exterior shower. Drivers side?
2. Exterior USB outlet- for what purpose? Useful?
3. Additional 12-volt interior - needed for?
4. additional12 volt USB/interior. Useful for?
5. Planning to order solar panel, 1500 watt inverter, and dual 6-volt batteries, along with transfer switch and surge protector. This system costs a lot but has very limited capacity. I think it will do little more than run the lighting in the trailer. A toaster, for example, would likely draw down this system significantly, and the trickle from the solar panel would not keep ahead of that. I am very interested to hear users comments about this.
6. Is the power awning better than a manual awning? Why?
7. I am not good a backing up. We have a 2018 F150 with the pro trailer backup assist feature. I am very interested to know if anyone has used this with an Escape trailer and what their thoughts are.
8. Related to 7. I was thinking about getting the backup camera for the trailer itself - a $510 option. Has anyone used this? Is it valuable? Can you use it on the highway?
9. Frameless vs framed windows?? Airflow impeded by awning windows with the frameless option?
10. High lift axle? Does it make it more difficult to get into the trailer? Is there much advantage on rougher roads/ forestry roads?
11. Heating pads. I think these would only be useful a few times in the mountains when it might dip below freezing, but I note you would have to be plugged into a 30 amp service... When and where would that happen? Am I missing something?
12. E2 integrated sway hitch. This seems the way to go even if overkill. comments?

Thank you for any advice on these items or any other options you can suggest. I am particularly interested to learn about the experience people have had with Ford's pro trailer backup assist. Looks great on youtube - but what do Escape users think?
Gasdoc
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Old 01-26-2019, 10:49 PM   #2
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Take what I say with a grain of salt as I'm a total newb like you (build date is may 2nd). I've read hundreds of threads on the forum, and it seems every choice is personal but I can tell you why we did or didn't make choices.

1. Exterior shower. Drivers side? (I'm still deciding on this myself, see thread: Build Sheet questions: Down to the wire on this very topic today)
2. Exterior USB outlet- for what purpose? Useful? The only purpose I saw was so my daughter can sit outside and charge her phone, she hates camping and is now 17 so we didn't get one.
3. Additional 12-volt interior - needed for? I'm having 2 drops installed in the upper cabinets in case down the road we want to add lighting.
4. additional12 volt USB/interior. Useful for? I'm having one installed by the dinette since my macbook pro is DC, and I intend to work while camping I wanted to be able to charge at the dinette.
5. Planning to order solar panel, 1500 watt inverter, and dual 6-volt batteries, along with transfer switch and surge protector. This system costs a lot but has very limited capacity. I think it will do little more than run the lighting in the trailer. A toaster, for example, would likely draw down this system significantly, and the trickle from the solar panel would not keep ahead of that. I am very interested to hear users comments about this. I had this on our list for nearly two weeks and ultimately decided I don't think I'll use anything that would require 120v while boondocking, and I can always install it later.
6. Is the power awning better than a manual awning? Why? This was another one I spent a great deal of time deciding on, as a kid I spent every summer camping 2-3 months and I would constantly hit my head on the damn bar. But the manual is better diverting rain from the camper. Ultimately I liked the look of the power, and the fact that I could retract it from indoors if its raining.
8. Related to 7. I was thinking about getting the backup camera for the trailer itself - a $510 option. Has anyone used this? Is it valuable? Can you use it on the highway? I'm getting it because I've never towed before and anything that makes it less likely I'll @#$# up is a selling point for me. I'm told you can also see traffic from behind as your driving which sounds handy.
9. Frameless vs framed windows?? Airflow impeded by awning windows with the frameless option? Seems to be a personal preference, I personally live where it rains a lot so i went with frameless.
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Old 01-26-2019, 10:55 PM   #3
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Looks like there are enough questions for everyone but I only have time right now for one answer.

Yes the backup assist on the Ford does work but I have done so much backing up I just do it the old fashion way.
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Old 01-26-2019, 11:47 PM   #4
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Hi Gasdoc,

We recently submitted our build sheet for our new 21.

1. Exterior shower. Drivers side? (We decided yes - cleaning fish, cleaning up after dumping the sewer, and cleaning up kids who may need a pre-rinse before going inside. We would rather do this on the driver side, rather than the side with the door and awning)

2. Exterior USB outlet- for what purpose? Useful? (We did not go with this)

3. Additional 12-volt interior - needed for? (We had one more put by the TV antenna. We bought a TV that will run directly off the 12v. Our TV is at https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1).

4. additional12 volt USB/interior. Useful for? (We went for a total of three 12-volt/USB interior outlets. We have an excessive amount of electronics to feed).

5. Planning to order solar panel, 1500 watt inverter, and dual 6-volt batteries, along with transfer switch and surge protector. This system costs a lot but has very limited capacity. I think it will do little more than run the lighting in the trailer. A toaster, for example, would likely draw down this system significantly, and the trickle from the solar panel would not keep ahead of that. I am very interested to hear users comments about this. (We went with solar and the dual 6-volt batteries. We skipped the inverter. However, I will likely buy a small 300W pure-sine wave inverter for about $75-100 to charge one of our bigger laptops via a 12v outlet.)

6. Is the power awning better than a manual awning? Why? (We went with the power awning. I liked the remote... might not be a totally rational decision though.)

7. I am not good a backing up. We have a 2018 F150 with the pro trailer backup assist feature. I am very interested to know if anyone has used this with an Escape trailer and what their thoughts are. (Sorry - our Ford does not have this feature, so we can't comment)

8. Related to 7. I was thinking about getting the backup camera for the trailer itself - a $510 option. Has anyone used this? Is it valuable? Can you use it on the highway? (We did not go with the $510 camera. However, we are thinking of getting a wireless camera that talks to our iPhone. When we arrive at a campground, we would attach the camera on a suction cup and use it just for parking. The camera we are considering is https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07DNBJBQQ...v_ov_lig_dp_it)

9. Frameless vs framed windows?? Airflow impeded by awning windows with the frameless option? (We went with frameless, and we expect rain on some of our camping trips)

10. High lift axle? Does it make it more difficult to get into the trailer? Is there much advantage on rougher roads/ forestry roads? (We toured a trailer with this, and we did not notice any problem getting in or out of the trailer. We went with the lift on our build sheet)

11. Heating pads. I think these would only be useful a few times in the mountains when it might dip below freezing, but I note you would have to be plugged into a 30 amp service... When and where would that happen? Am I missing something? (We went with these, but we noted they are only useful when you are plugged into shore power. They would be useless when boondocking)

12. E2 integrated sway hitch. This seems the way to go even if overkill. comments? (We did not order this from Escape. We will likely install our own Andersen WDH)
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Old 01-27-2019, 05:47 AM   #5
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Welcome Gasdoc, most of these things are just personal preference, you'll get all sorts of answers, none of which are wrong.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gasdoc View Post
1. Exterior shower. Drivers side? Some have it on the passenger side to do dishes, on the drivers side it'd keep the water away from where you walk. I had it before and never used it so I didn't get it.

2. Exterior USB outlet- for what purpose? Useful? I had an external 12v outlet installed, non usb. I use it for a number of things, 12v fan, recharging phones with an adapter. If it wasn't for the fan I wouldn't need it. The fan wouldn't work on usb.

3. Additional 12-volt interior - needed for? Charging phones. We have one at the dinette and one by the door where the 5.0TA has a small counter. We also have one for the cell booster above the dinette.


4. additional12 volt USB/interior. Useful for? see above

5. Planning to order solar panel, 1500 watt inverter, and dual 6-volt batteries, along with transfer switch and surge protector. This system costs a lot but has very limited capacity. I think it will do little more than run the lighting in the trailer. A toaster, for example, would likely draw down this system significantly, and the trickle from the solar panel would not keep ahead of that. I am very interested to hear users comments about this. I run my toaster pretty much every day, it uses about 10 amps for one run. I'd suggest you at least get the solar. You can get a small portable inverter if you find the need or have a hardwired one added later. Typical for us is 10-15 amps a night in the summer, closer to 25 when we need the furnace, add 10 to either for the toaster. Deb insists on washing her hair every 3 days, it requires a blow drier. If we have no access to 120vac, she can run the hair drier off the inverter on medium heat. Once every 3 days is no big deal for the solar. I was fine without the inverter, it just makes things a bit more convenient. I wouldn't have a trailer without solar now that I;ve had it.


6. Is the power awning better than a manual awning? Why? I'm good with the manual, but then the power one wasn't an option in 2014. The power one might be nice if you are on the shorter then me at 6'2", I can reach the pull strap.

7. I am not good a backing up. We have a 2018 F150 with the pro trailer backup assist feature. I am very interested to know if anyone has used this with an Escape trailer and what their thoughts are. It's always entertaining to watch folks attempting to back in their trailers when they are new to it, you're going to spoil my fun.

8. Related to 7. I was thinking about getting the backup camera for the trailer itself - a $510 option. Has anyone used this? Is it valuable? Can you use it on the highway?

9. Frameless vs framed windows?? Airflow impeded by awning windows with the frameless option?I have framed, work fine for me but again, the frameless wen't and option at the time.

10. High lift axle? Does it make it more difficult to get into the trailer? To an extent, yes.Is there much advantage on rougher roads/ forestry roads? I do not have it but wish I did. Maybe some day I'll flip mine. I seldom do really rough roads but had to pass on it the few times I would have liked to. If I lived in the west I'd get it.

11. Heating pads. I think these would only be useful a few times in the mountains when it might dip below freezing, but I note you would have to be plugged into a 30 amp service... When and where would that happen? Am I missing something? I passed on it. I dry camp if there is the need, if it's just dipping below freezing over night thee is no need.

12. E2 integrated sway hitch. This seems the way to go even if overkill. comments? When I had a small bumper pull I used the E2's big brother, even with trucks, just made me feel more secure. It's really just a choice thing, you can always try it without and get a WDH if you feel the need. They are heavy to lug around and kind of a PIA to connect and disconnect all the time although you do get used to doing it after a while.

Don't have the backup assist on my 2012 F150 but then I've been backing up with a trailer for a long time. If you feel the need, there are places where you can take a lesson on driving with a trailer.
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Old 01-27-2019, 06:16 AM   #6
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5. I ordered the solar - 95 watts back when ordered. Started with 1 12 volt battery but upgraded to 2 sixes when the first battery went bad. Ordered the 1500 watt inverter as a gamble. Rarely used until recently. I store offsite with no power. I purchased a random orbiter polisher and now can use it where my Escape is parked. With my roof solar and a portable solar, I have the ability to take care of the trailer that wouldn’t otherwise be available. So my point is to do your best. If you make a mistake, and don’t use it, it’s only money! It’s a gamble - just do your best and then relax and start planning to camp in luxury!
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Old 01-27-2019, 06:27 AM   #7
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If you only need the expensive inverter for a toaster it will not work as it will deplete your batteries. You can always get an oven
which operates off propane. Other than air condition, you can operate and enjoy the trailer using 12v and propane. The refrigerator, furnace operate off propane, water pump is 12v, lights is 12v, awning is 12v and with solar you have unlimited 12v available. I'm getting exterior water on both sides as well as hatches with the "U" dinette and 5 extra 12v locations for future use. The awning windows can be used in the rain and with extra windows you can have 360 degree views. Front storage box is very handy.
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Old 01-27-2019, 08:33 AM   #8
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As for the Pro Backup Assist. I am very experienced with towing and backups. We currently have a 19. We just got a new F150 with backup assist and I like it a lot! After getting used to the “feel” it makes backups almost effortless. At our last campsite I was able to back down a long site within inches of the edge with no worries. We also have a narrow storage unit with little room in front so I have to back in at an angle and the backup assist makes it so much easier. I do not have and will not get a rear view camera. I find my wife with a walkie talkie is the best rear view camera I can have when backing into a spot especially with lots of trees on the side and overhead.
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Old 01-27-2019, 08:38 AM   #9
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Remember, there are no wrong answers.... We have an exterior shower on our 19 that we have used 2 or 3 times in 4 years. On our new 5.0 build sheet we don’t have it. We don’t have pets and we wash in the sink in a pail if necessary to keep the water out of the grey water tank. Just a different style camping for us.
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Old 01-27-2019, 09:26 AM   #10
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Our propane powered toaster.
No electricity required.


https://www.amazon.com/Stansport-Fol...oaster+4+slice
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Old 01-27-2019, 11:21 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JStelly View Post
As for the Pro Backup Assist. I am very experienced with towing and backups. We currently have a 19. We just got a new F150 with backup assist and I like it a lot! After getting used to the “feel” it makes backups almost effortless. At our last campsite I was able to back down a long site within inches of the edge with no worries. We also have a narrow storage unit with little room in front so I have to back in at an angle and the backup assist makes it so much easier. I do not have and will not get a rear view camera. I find my wife with a walkie talkie is the best rear view camera I can have when backing into a spot especially with lots of trees on the side and overhead.
I guess your going to miss using your Pro Backup Assist as from what I understand it will not work with a fifth wheel. Good thing you have a Pro Assistant.
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Old 01-27-2019, 02:10 PM   #12
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Re: back-up camera. On my 19, towed with a Ford Ranger, I had two. One was your off the shelf ebay type and one was a converted Sony video camera (with a 50x lens)

The reason that I had the cameras was that when in California with a 55 mph towing speed I was always going a little faster than that to keep the Ranger engine happy when in 5th. Nice to be able to tell if that vehicle way back there is a patrol car.

The one thing that I never did was use it for backing up. It was no substitute for my wife behind the trailer with a walkie talkie.

My wife hadn't yet driven our new F150 with the trailer behind. In less than 15 minutes with the Pro Trailer Assist she'd parallel parked against a curb and then dog legged parked it into its' normal storage spot. She loves it.

I've been towing multiple types of trailers for a long time. Being a man I dismissed the assist as something I could do better myself. Then I tried it. If it ever breaks it's nice to know that I can backup the trailer without it. But until then, I've got it and I'll be using it.

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Old 01-27-2019, 04:10 PM   #13
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Quote:
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I guess your going to miss using your Pro Backup Assist as from what I understand it will not work with a fifth wheel. Good thing you have a Pro Assistant.


Quite true! She’s the best.
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Old 01-27-2019, 09:03 PM   #14
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Thank you for your quick and helpful reply. This is a great online community. With regard to your daughters cell phone: My friend is an English professor who recently asked one of his classes to complete the sentence," without my cell phone I would...". one young woman wrote, "I would step back into my life...". Good advice for many of us today, I think. Perhaps camping is a good chance to work on that...
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Old 01-27-2019, 09:07 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eggscape View Post


Looks like there are enough questions for everyone but I only have time right now for one answer.

Yes the backup assist on the Ford does work but I have done so much backing up I just do it the old fashion way.
Thanks. In my case, "The old fashioned way" is a source of entertainment to onlookers.
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Old 01-27-2019, 09:09 PM   #16
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Welcome Gasdoc, most of these things are just personal preference, you'll get all sorts of answers, none of which are wrong.
Thanks for your reply. Think I will pass on the heating pads.
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Old 01-27-2019, 09:24 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bea View Post
Hi Gasdoc,

We recently submitted our build sheet for our new 21.

1. Exterior shower. Drivers side? (We decided yes - cleaning fish, cleaning up after dumping the sewer, and cleaning up kids who may need a pre-rinse before going inside. We would rather do this on the driver side, rather than the side with the door and awning)

2. Exterior USB outlet- for what purpose? Useful? (We did not go with this)

3. Additional 12-volt interior - needed for? (We had one more put by the TV antenna. We bought a TV that will run directly off the 12v. Our TV is at https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1).

4. additional12 volt USB/interior. Useful for? (We went for a total of three 12-volt/USB interior outlets. We have an excessive amount of electronics to feed).

5. Planning to order solar panel, 1500 watt inverter, and dual 6-volt batteries, along with transfer switch and surge protector. This system costs a lot but has very limited capacity. I think it will do little more than run the lighting in the trailer. A toaster, for example, would likely draw down this system significantly, and the trickle from the solar panel would not keep ahead of that. I am very interested to hear users comments about this. (We went with solar and the dual 6-volt batteries. We skipped the inverter. However, I will likely buy a small 300W pure-sine wave inverter for about $75-100 to charge one of our bigger laptops via a 12v outlet.)

6. Is the power awning better than a manual awning? Why? (We went with the power awning. I liked the remote... might not be a totally rational decision though.)

7. I am not good a backing up. We have a 2018 F150 with the pro trailer backup assist feature. I am very interested to know if anyone has used this with an Escape trailer and what their thoughts are. (Sorry - our Ford does not have this feature, so we can't comment)

8. Related to 7. I was thinking about getting the backup camera for the trailer itself - a $510 option. Has anyone used this? Is it valuable? Can you use it on the highway? (We did not go with the $510 camera. However, we are thinking of getting a wireless camera that talks to our iPhone. When we arrive at a campground, we would attach the camera on a suction cup and use it just for parking. The camera we are considering is https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07DNBJBQQ...v_ov_lig_dp_it)

9. Frameless vs framed windows?? Airflow impeded by awning windows with the frameless option? (We went with frameless, and we expect rain on some of our camping trips)

10. High lift axle? Does it make it more difficult to get into the trailer? Is there much advantage on rougher roads/ forestry roads? (We toured a trailer with this, and we did not notice any problem getting in or out of the trailer. We went with the lift on our build sheet)

11. Heating pads. I think these would only be useful a few times in the mountains when it might dip below freezing, but I note you would have to be plugged into a 30 amp service... When and where would that happen? Am I missing something? (We went with these, but we noted they are only useful when you are plugged into shore power. They would be useless when boondocking)

12. E2 integrated sway hitch. This seems the way to go even if overkill. comments? (We did not order this from Escape. We will likely install our own Andersen WDH)
Thanks for your quick and helpful response. I think we will go with the frameless windows. From your post, I realize I need to learn a lot more about solar panels and their capacity. supplemental panels are not expensive... but I am not sure how they fit in with the existing (installed) system. Have to research this one.
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Old 01-27-2019, 09:31 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by padlin View Post
Welcome Gasdoc, most of these things are just personal preference, you'll get all sorts of answers, none of which are wrong.
Thanks for your prompt and helpful reply. Will go with solar for sure. Didn't think about using an outlet for a fan. Will pass on heating pads.
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Old 01-27-2019, 09:34 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kstock11 View Post
5. I ordered the solar - 95 watts back when ordered. Started with 1 12 volt battery but upgraded to 2 sixes when the first battery went bad. Ordered the 1500 watt inverter as a gamble. Rarely used until recently. I store offsite with no power. I purchased a random orbiter polisher and now can use it where my Escape is parked. With my roof solar and a portable solar, I have the ability to take care of the trailer that wouldn’t otherwise be available. So my point is to do your best. If you make a mistake, and don’t use it, it’s only money! It’s a gamble - just do your best and then relax and start planning to camp in luxury!
Thanks for your helpful comments.
Gasdoc
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Old 01-27-2019, 09:44 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JStelly View Post
As for the Pro Backup Assist. I am very experienced with towing and backups. We currently have a 19. We just got a new F150 with backup assist and I like it a lot! After getting used to the “feel” it makes backups almost effortless. At our last campsite I was able to back down a long site within inches of the edge with no worries. We also have a narrow storage unit with little room in front so I have to back in at an angle and the backup assist makes it so much easier. I do not have and will not get a rear view camera. I find my wife with a walkie talkie is the best rear view camera I can have when backing into a spot especially with lots of trees on the side and overhead.
Thanks for this information. Very reassuring. Ford (and our salesperson) make the backup system sound like the next best thing to sliced bread, but some online comments and appraisals from users are not as generous. I see no reason to "man up" on this. I know I am not good at backing up a trailer. I think more practice will help but I know I need all the help I can get.
Gasdoc
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