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Old 10-03-2013, 01:25 PM   #1
Junior Member
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: Vancouver, British Columbia
Trailer: 2014 Escape 19, 2008 FJ Cruiser (it's like sitting in a prozac tablet)
Posts: 24
New to Escape... new to RV'ing...

Hi All,

Been lurking here a few days now, and what an incredible useful community of folk.

Short (long?) story, moved from South Africa to Vancouver Canada five years ago. In South Africa, we were often out camping, normally in a tent alongside our Land Rover Defender which we had kitted out with pretty much everything we needed, or backpacking in remote areas.

I recently started looking at Travel Trailers, as we really want to tour around our new homeland. I really didn't fancy camping in near zero temperatures and 24hr a day damp (its a rain forest afterall), but was very discouraged to find out a) how heavy and huge most trailers were and b) how badly put together they are...

We stopped looking and went off camping in our tent and tarp to keep of the worst of the wet, but a week in the Kananaskis valley/Jasper/Lake Louise just as the snow started falling had me once again looking for some sort of light weight caravan, and I stumbled on the Escape...

So a few questions to you wise Escapees..

1. We are used to camping "rough" with NO services at all. We've never had a Travel Trailer, never travelled with one: how useful is the really cramped shower/toilet? Most camp sites we've been to in Canada have from perfectly serviceable pit laterines to full washrooms.

2. Are the fridges any good? As a field geologist I used 3 way fridges years ago and they were frankly not the greatest. We moved to smaller compressor based fridges such as the Engel and never looked back, these keep stuff cold/freeze in 40C plus... BUT need 12V or mains power, and if you are stationary for a few days, this can be an issue. This was rarely an issue when we were touring, a dual battery system in the Land Rover pretty much ran the fridge for 2 days even when stationary. Modern Solar power panels would probably help as well.

3. The Escapes seem pretty solid, and some pictures show them nice and dirty from being dragged over gravel roads. Anyone got much experience of getting them to pretty out of the way places? I'm thinking of the back roads camp sites in the Chilcotins via the Hurley pass etc.

4. Though the Escape is light by North American Standards, it still seems to use solid/dense/heavy materials for the interior. Does anyone make truly light weigh travel trailers here in the west? I found this Alto 1743 but am not sure this will stand up to being dragged around gravel/forest service roads.

I hope to get out to the factory next week, and see some actual examples!

Any comments, inputs and ideas welcome



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Old 10-03-2013, 02:24 PM   #2
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Sandra L's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Antelope, California
Trailer: 2009 17B "Suite Escape" pulled by a 2005 Toyota Sienna
Posts: 1,504
Welcome! As I don't boondock, I cannot answer most of your questions, but my 5year old 3-way Dometic 3.4 (I think) fridge works great. I use electricity and have been warned about staying connected to my tow vehicle (fridge on-car off) as it will draw down the car battery in a big hurry. (beyond 20 minutes or so.) I do know that a cut-off switch can be put in the tow vehicle for just that purpose.

Peace and Sunshine
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Old 10-03-2013, 02:35 PM   #3
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Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: North Vancouver, British Columbia
Trailer: 2009 Escape 17B - "Toad". '08 Toyota RAV4 V6
Posts: 8,731
I have the 5 cu. ft. two-way fridge ( AC and propane ) I chose not to get 12V because it sucks down the battery in no time. If your battery is depleted and you move camp, the tow vehicle will only be able to feed the fridge set on 12V, with nothing left over to re-charge the battery. Some people travel with propane on. I just shut it off and it stays cold for five hours or more under normal summer temps ( for BC ).

The cupboards etc. are made from a thin plywood. There is none of that particle board / MDF / Oriented Strand board ( tops of seats maybe exempt ). Light weight materials are used and built to stand up over time.

My trailer has the high-lift axle and can go places my RAV can't.

Where in Vancouver are you? Mine is in the drive-way in North Van. Will save you the Port Mann toll. Then you can visit the factory.
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2009 Escape 17B "Toad"
2008 Toyota RAV4 V6 Sport
North Vancouver, British Columbia

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Old 10-04-2013, 11:05 AM   #4
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Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Calgary, Alberta
Trailer: 2017 Escape 5.0 TA
Posts: 8,886
Hi David, and welcome.

I do mostly boondocking, and with our 5cf fridge on propane, it does great. The whole trailer does great.

Lighter materials could be done, but at a cost, either in money or durability. Escape seems to find a decent compromise. A lot of the weight issues comes not from the trailer, but the gear you haul along. If you are used to tenting, you should be able to keep this to a minimum and still enjoy your camping.

I rarely use the toilet myself, only when in a campground where there is no viable tree near by. It is nice to have though, my wife really likes it.
2017 Escape 5.0 TA (someday soon, I hope )
2015 Ford F150 Lariat 3.5L EcoBoost
2009 Escape 19 (previous)
“Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.” — Abraham Lincoln
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Old 10-04-2013, 06:16 PM   #5
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Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: Morro Bay, California
Trailer: 2016 Escape 21 (May 25, 2016)
Posts: 299
Hi David!

Welcome to a great forum!
We don't yet have an Escape, but I can give input based on our Casita and our camping.

1. We love having the toilet! We use campground toilets and showers most of the time, but it's invaluable for the night time needs. We wouldn't be without it.
2. The fridges are good. We mostly dry camp and so we run it on propane most of the time. All of them struggle a bit in very high temperatures, but that's just inherent in the design.
3. Escapes are very well built and durable, but I'll leave the details for someone who has one.

Good luck!
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Old 10-04-2013, 07:28 PM   #6
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Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Galesville, Wisconsin
Trailer: 2017 21 due 4/15/17 2016 Highlander XLE (previously 17B "Blue")
Posts: 2,400

Welcome. You luckily found what I believe is the best price/quality ratio trailer of any currently available before you got stuck with a lemon like most of us on the first or second RV. I think Jim is absolutely correct about a lot of weigh coming from stuff we bring along and keeping that to a minimum makes a huge difference.

Being both in our 60s now, we love the bathroom, and especially the shower. Living where there are lots of ticks, mosquitos ,black flies, deer flies, etc and often camping where there are no showers, being able to take a quick shower to get the repellent off before climbing into bed is wonderful. (It is amazing how little water is actually takes for a shower when you are really aware of being careful with it)

Best of luck with all your decisions,
Eric (and Mary who is in no way responsible for anything stupid I post)
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Old 10-04-2013, 07:59 PM   #7
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Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: York, Pennsylvania
Trailer: 2016 2ndGen Escape 19' PRAIRIE SCHOONER pulled by 2014 Ram Hemi/8sp
Posts: 10,278
Welcome to Escape Forum, our little world. As several have said, durability comes with a cost, heavier structural components. The refer in the Escape is a 3 way Dometic, operating off propane it is very efficient. There is a 12v and a 120v option also. With factory solar and dual 6 volts, you will be self sufficient and will need water before needing hookups.
never in doubt, often wrong
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Old 10-04-2013, 09:19 PM   #8
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Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: Cobble Hill, British Columbia
Trailer: 2013 Escape 19
Posts: 174
We purchased our 19 for the same reasons DavidF you described. We hike lots, travel to northern BC, Jasper and interior, and prefer boon docking. We wanted some thing small, light and quality and looked at TABs, Altos, Escapes and the usual inventory at the RV outlets. I am too tall for a TAB. Altos have a nice layout, seemed a bit smaller that an equivalent size/weight Escape and not sure if they would last as well particularly over rough road. Not much difference in price when you factor in shipping from out east, also they have fewer options and little customization. Alto will give you names of folks in BC if you want to see one (there's one in Victoria).

We have the 5 cu ft fridge and it works well, perhaps get it cold and loaded a couple days before travelling during the summer. We find for boon docking a must have is a solar panel and an outside shower. I like to keep dirty hiking boots, packs, hiking poles, bear mace, etc, in the front storage box.
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Old 10-06-2013, 01:03 PM   #9
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Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: Vancouver, British Columbia
Trailer: 2014 Escape 19, 2008 FJ Cruiser (it's like sitting in a prozac tablet)
Posts: 24
Many thanks for the warm welcome and good information. It will be a while till we can get one of the Escapes, but I look forward to the day we finally get one.

I'm so glad I avoided the general run of the mill RV's, the Escapes seem to really hit a good value point.


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Old 10-12-2013, 12:53 PM   #10
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Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: Vancouver, British Columbia
Trailer: 2014 Escape 19, 2008 FJ Cruiser (it's like sitting in a prozac tablet)
Posts: 24
Well as luck would have it, we ended up having to drive out to Manning Park to collect a couple of friends who had just completed the PCT hike - (Pacific Crest Trail, essentially they walked from Mexico over the last 6 months. the mind boggles). As we were passing through Chilliwack we dropped into the factory, unannounced and a gracious lady, Lisa, showed us the entire range of Trailers.

These are really neat trailers and just what we've been looking for. Whilst the 15 is the most appealing, sensibility and and longer term view, suggest that a 19 would be the most effective for our longer term needs. The 21 is just too much for our needs.

So we now are into the sorting out finances and wondering what options we'll go for.

I have a question that I've searched for but haven't found an thread on, maybe wrong search words, about axle and wheel choices. Ideally we want to use this to go boondocking, and I'm interested to hear if anyone has had axles/wheelsets to provide additional clearance? What are your experiences, was it worth the effort? Did you try and match TV and Trailer wheels? A lot of the Forest roads we wander up have been decommissioned and have some interesting water bars to navigate..

If anyone is interested, the sort of boondocking trailer we'd be looking at if still back in South Africa would be this: Xplorer Xcell | models

Have a great weekend, happy Thanksgiving to all Canadians!



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