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Old 05-31-2017, 12:21 PM   #1
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Join Date: May 2017
Location: Salem, Oregon
Trailer: Renting a Casita to decide
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Testing 17 ft trailer life

Hi everybody,

My wife and I are renting a 17 foot Casita in August to see how we handle living a 17 foot trailer. I am hopeful and am researching what to buy after renting in August.

When we bought a new vehicle a truck was 100% out the question. I drove a truck until my kids were teenagers, and I think my wife is paranoid despite the kids being out of the house. That means whatever we buy must be capable of being towed by a 5000 pound max SUV.

I will be making a separate post with questions about an Escape 17b after I am done searching this forum, like "Do I really want a window in the bathroom to clean the black water tank?" (Don't answer that yet). But the final candidates are:
1. Escape - Tied for the highest quality.
2. Alto Condo Safari - High quality, great layout, love the window space, love flip seat storage, but very inconvenient location and most expensive.
3. Casita - Love the parallel bed/seat layout like Alto and flip up seat storage. After comparing with an Escape at an fiberglass RV gathering just not as thrilling.
4. Aliner - Same great layout. Lower profile towing. More space (at the expense of having to tow a wider vehicle). But...least favorite to be in for me.

If Escape offered the same layout as a Casita or Alto, it would be a no brainer. I love the idea of two 30 inch wide beds which are plenty long enough for me, and with an aisle in between so we can go to the bathroom and wake up early without disturbing the other person. I only tested this on the Alto, but narrow beds/seats are very easy to flip open for storage. But we would be on opposite ends of an Escape, plus I am not sure the single bed is long enough for me (my wife made it clear she wants the double bed).

Comments welcomed and thanked for in advance.
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Old 05-31-2017, 01:53 PM   #2
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Location: Ponoka, Alberta
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Hi, welcome to the Escape forum!
Who is going to make up the beds in the evening, and taking them down in the morning? You might want to think about this. Two separate beds close together might be an hassle to do so. Would much prefer a front and rear bed in order to make the beds.
Nice and cozy together in separate beds is nice, but most of the night you sleep anyway. You won't get lost in a 17 with beds rear and front....
With ETI you have many option, getting a quality product, close to home, and outstanding service!
Best wishes in finding the perfect trailer you and your wife are comfortable with!
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Old 05-31-2017, 01:57 PM   #3
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Trailer: 2013 19' Escape 1977 Trillium 1300
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Personally, we hated the Casita layout with the front bath. Sold it and moved on to an Escape 19.

I wouldn't write off pickup trucks yet either. Drive a nice one with four doors. Lots of room! The comfort of my F150 Lariat rivals what my dad had with his Town Car. Trucks have gotten more and more comfortable, and more like cars (could be a plus or a minus depending on your point of view.

One issue with had with the Casita was storage, it basically had none (OK it has some, but it is very limited). Most of the under the bed was consumed with fresh water tank, batteries, water pump, electrical panel, etc. Very little left for any meaningful storage.

On my 19, I have the front box, under the bed (most of it), under the dinette (most of it). Part of the difference is having the batteries in the front box and the fresh tank beneath the floor. We had a Liberty model Casita, very narrow twin beds, or a large king, your choice, with no dinette seating (unless you took the bed up). Wait until you get several days of rain in a row. No place to sit becomes a BIG issue.

With the 19, we have a queen bed in the rear of course, and can set up the front dinette as an emergency/second bed. Its close to double bed size.

Taking up a bed every morning and putting it back into sleep mode every evening is a major PITA. Most of us have had a trailer in the past where you had to do this, and will never go back.

We are wrapping up a month long, 8500 mile trip in our 19 right now.


Now a Casita works for a lot of folks, I think it would be better for a weekend camper. We tend to take 3 to 4 weeks at a time. Issues that show up after a week or two would never bother you on a weekend.

Compare the floorplan of the Escape 19 to the Escape 17B (bath model). Look at bed, bathroom, and dinette size. Then compare to the Casita 17 (your choice of model). If I was TV limited or a weekend camper, I'd probably get the 17B.

I have friends with two A-liners right now. They have to leave them set up in their yard, as the roof leaks when the trailers are folded down. If they had a bigger garage, storing them inside would work.

Either you are convinced that a molded fiberglass trailer is the way to go, or you are not. Since some of your choices are not molded FG trailers, maybe you are in the latter group. The thing about molded trailers is you have to pay a HEFTY premium to get one, and they are small when compared to stick built trailers. Obviously, folks on this forum are committed to molded trailers, so you are going to get opinions to match.
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Old 05-31-2017, 02:08 PM   #4
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On my research, the alto had ALU exterior, not good in hail, or dirt roads ( dings). The casita .....I could not find any R value insulation rating anywhere in their info when I was looking. The Casita floor is bathtubbed in the bottom shell. Its in resin, but Any resin crack or screw hole, the water could follow those and sit there on the wood, no exit route. I wonder how many screws casita has going in that floor? Escape has weep holes for their floor on a potential plumbing or water leak to drain the water away. The aliners, members said the front hinge leaks driving in rain, the fix was to keep silicone applied to that hinge. I was unsure of all the desert camping I do with the wind on the aliner. The front dinette scamp offers the same layout as escape, but I assume that nor Oliver trailer 18 foot is on the shopping list.
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Old 05-31-2017, 02:18 PM   #5
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For me, the headroom in the trailer is a major consideration. At 6'-2" height, I am just able to stand in the Escape 19' without banging my head on the ceiling. I would be crouching in any of the Casitas or Scamps, and in the Escape 17'. I really like the Escape 5.0TA due to the much greater headroom it offers.
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Old 05-31-2017, 02:33 PM   #6
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We looked at the Oliver, Casita, Escape.. Oliver is nice, but too expensive for our needs.. Casita we didn't like the layout that much and a few things we wanted can only be done after market, Escape we initially looked at the 17A and decided on the 19..

I've looked at the Alto and liked the big windows a lot, if you are mainly going to be in established campground and RV parks I think this is a good one to have. The front dinette barely fits two though, so unless you plan to make your bed everyday you'd have to put up with the small table at the front or use the picnic table outside. Also it's a smaller trailer (I think less than 17' total?) compare to the other one you mentioned.. My friend full time in one and she really liked it.
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Old 05-31-2017, 03:42 PM   #7
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Here's a mod someone did to a Casita to get the twin beds.
Twin Beds - Fiberglass RV
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Old 05-31-2017, 03:53 PM   #8
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Trailer: Renting a Casita to decide
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Random thoughts

The SUV has been bought. Not happy since I drove a truck for 30 years and saw no need for an SUV to carry people, but end of discussion. 19 foot is out of the question. I have seen the Escape fifth wheel, and I think we could live full time in that.

One of the things we will be testing is if my wife can handle simplicity. I spent about a year in a mummy sleeping bag on forest fires, plus a little misc tent camping. My sales pitch is to keep it simple and have two rectangular sleeping bags made of material that can take repeated washings and be easily folded. For me that would be a step up. I see no reason to make a bed everyday.
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Old 05-31-2017, 04:16 PM   #9
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Trailer: Renting a Casita to decide
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Lets be clear, I think the Escape is far superior construction to a Casita or Aliner. When I compared the construction of the Escape with Casita, the Escape won hands down. And the carpeting on the walls on the Casita is the insulation. I just like the twin bed option. Independence 17' | Casita Travel Trailers - America's Favorite Lightweight Travel Trailers! Another plus for Escape is that it is a very long days drive away.

The Alto comes with cushions you can put against the wall and turn the beds into comfortable seats. I assume I find them for a Casita. The Casita has a table that pops in and out between the beds so you can use the beds for dinette seating. Based on user comments an Alto can handle hail, but I have thank one person since I have to check if the Alto offers has an option to protect against rocks like an Airstream.

I think the Escape will win after I get a few basic questions answered. Maybe I should post the questions I have now.
Somebody mentioned that turning a dinette into a bed is a PITA.
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Old 05-31-2017, 05:16 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bobbie54 View Post
Here's a mod someone did to a Casita to get the twin beds.
Twin Beds - Fiberglass RV
This mod gets you a 30 inch bed. An actual twin is 40 inches wide. Ditto the Independence. When the inside width is just a little over six feet (72 inches) there's only so much you can do. Traditional stick built trailers are wider, close to eight feet, which makes twins more like real twins.

After camping for a while, you will get sick and tired of taking the bed down every morning just to put it up the next night. It's not just about bedding either. What if the stock cushions don't make a good bed for you. Chances are you will then get s custom. foam pad made. The custom pad can either be bed size or match the dimensions of the original cushions.

Setting up and hooking up become time sucks in your travels. Fewer steps plus more efficiency means you get to your next destination sooner.
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