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Old 04-22-2016, 12:39 PM   #1
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Join Date: Apr 2016
Location: Helena, Montana
Trailer: 2007 Hallmark Guanella
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Potential new owner- Questions

Good morning!
My wife and I are going to be making a switch in camper accommodations. We currently own a 3/4 ton truck and a Hallmark Guanella truck camper. I've spent over 250+ nights in that camper over the past 5 years (use it often). I can count on both hands the number of times we've actually 'plugged in' to a RV spot. Most of my time is away from campsites and in the middle of nowhere.

It's been a great rig and camper, but I'm the only one that can drive it, and the truck is getting long in the tooth. We've decided to downsize our travel vehicle to a new Tacoma TRD V6. Obviously our camper won't quite fit anymore!

So we've tossed around some ideas and have done some research, and it comes back to a light weight FG TT as the most logical choice.

We like Escape because they are similar to Hallmark- small company, better details, reputable customer service. We would more than likely going with the 19' ft model, which is a sizable increase in space over the truck camper, lol.

My main questions to current Escape owners is centered on durability and remote camping ability. Specifically- I travel quite a bit on unpaved secondary roads. Road surfaces consist of road mix (dried mud and aggregate) or gravel. Often the surface is rutted, washboarded- just plain rough. I also travel a lot of forest service roads, obviously that would be curtailed a bit with a tt.. I would imagine this unit would see 1,500-2,000 miles p/yr, primarily from May- December (Montana). I would estimate that 50% of the time will be spent with no hook-ups available.

I would appreciate any feedback on opinions regarding durability and usability with regards to this type of use. Does their product hold up well to off-pavement travel? Does anyone else use their Escape's for extended off-grid use? Any commentary welcomed. Thank-you in advance for your time.

Tom
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Old 04-22-2016, 01:08 PM   #2
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Hi Tom, welcome to the site.

The Escape 19 will do as well or better at just about any other trailer for the type of camping you describe. Not that you can abuse it, you still have to drive appropriately for the conditions, but the fibreglass shell, unlike a stick built will hold up fine. It is all the stuff built in that you need to take care to not jostle or bounce too hard. Like me, many others here rarely camp with hook-ups.

If you search and read on past threads, you will see lots of information on just what you propose, as many are doing it. Lots on solar power, dealing with fresh and waste water and other boondocking conditions.
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Old 04-22-2016, 01:12 PM   #3
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Some of my favorite campsites are at the end of a long washboard road, although it sounds like your off-road use is greater.
I've had no issues. I bungee the fridge door and some cupboards to keep them closed.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Rock pile.jpg (284.3 KB, 59 views)
File Type: jpg Skagit washboard.jpg (289.7 KB, 53 views)
File Type: jpg Cattle road.jpg (189.2 KB, 46 views)
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Old 04-22-2016, 01:49 PM   #4
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I think you can raise the trailer to give you more clearance.
I think you are on the right track.

Have fun, Larry
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Old 04-22-2016, 03:10 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gbaglo View Post
Some of my favorite campsites are at the end of a long washboard road, although it sounds like your off-road use is greater.
I've had no issues. I bungee the fridge door and some cupboards to keep them closed.
A lot of it looks like the second pic, yup..
Do their doors have positive latches? My truck camper doors will not open without depressing a button.

No problems with fixtures working loose or breaking? I've had a screw get loose here and there, but nothing major. A friend of mine bought a Palomino truck camper and within 5 years it was trashed.
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Old 04-22-2016, 03:19 PM   #6
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Any comments about cold weather experience would be great too.



That happens a few times too. That was -10 during a 2 day blizzard.
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Old 04-22-2016, 03:21 PM   #7
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I've not had to tighten any screw anywhere. I did break a shelf in the fridge, but that was because I had the shelf loaded with heavy bottles of milk and juice. Fixed it with some epoxy and aluminum.
I use bungee cords to keep some cupboards closed on washboard ( the ones up top don't require any ).
Those spring loaded bars didn't work for me.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg barred - 1.jpg (180.0 KB, 33 views)
File Type: jpg Can cupboard bungee.jpg (176.2 KB, 37 views)
File Type: jpg Cupboard support.jpg (177.4 KB, 39 views)
File Type: jpg Fridge bungee.jpg (151.3 KB, 40 views)
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Old 04-22-2016, 04:48 PM   #8
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Depending on the size of your current camper, the 19 may not really be any larger inside but a more useable layout certainly.
I also came from a truck camper & the interior dimensions were similar - about 15' front to back - but the layout is vastly better in the 19.


My one complaint about cold weather camping in the Escape is that the window frames are subject to condensation to the point that for me, I need to find a solution to the issue. Our last winter trip was with temps around -15 C and the condensation was almost unbearable.
I had asked Escape about this and they were not really able to provide a solution. Looks like with the style of manufacture of the fibreglass trailer, there is no thermal break provided & maybe no easy way to do so.
I did not have condensation issues with my camper and likely this is because of the insulated panels used in the construction allowing for a thermal break.


The offroad worthiness will come down to the hitch and trailer tongue more so than any clearance issue with trailer axles or underbelly features.
The 19 with the Torflex axles rides better than my truck offroad.
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Old 04-22-2016, 04:55 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lancenadine View Post
Depending on the size of your current camper, the 19 may not really be any larger inside but a more useable layout certainly.
I also came from a truck camper & the interior dimensions were similar - about 15' front to back - but the layout is vastly better in the 19.


My one complaint about cold weather camping in the Escape is that the window frames are subject to condensation to the point that for me, I need to find a solution to the issue. Our last winter trip was with temps around -15 C and the condensation was almost unbearable.
I had asked Escape about this and they were not really able to provide a solution. Looks like with the style of manufacture of the fibreglass trailer, there is no thermal break provided & maybe no easy way to do so.
I did not have condensation issues with my camper and likely this is because of the insulated panels used in the construction allowing for a thermal break.


The offroad worthiness will come down to the hitch and trailer tongue more so than any clearance issue with trailer axles or underbelly features.
The 19 with the Torflex axles rides better than my truck offroad.
do you have the thermal windows? Just curious.
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Old 04-22-2016, 05:01 PM   #10
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Three Run,

Is one of your goals to have a rig that your wife can also drive? Why was she unable to drive the camper? If that IS a goal, will she be better able to handle a trailer than the camper? Just asking. Regarding winter capability, even with the extra insulation, the Escape products are not really very winter capable. Others have mentioned the annoying condensation around the windows due to a lack of a thermal break in the aluminum frames. A more serious issue is the liquids. Even with heated, insulated tanks, you have problem as the dump valves are outside the heated space and, though insulated, the liquid in them will eventually become a thick slurry that will not dump until you warm the unit up. If you are willing to dry camp and cope with the window condensation, the heater in the 17b is adequate to heat the unit to -23 F so I found las winter. You might look at Lance brand trailers and campers if you want an RV with more winter capability.
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