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Old 01-06-2018, 05:36 PM   #1
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Final decision, yes or no to Escape for young family?

Hi all! Youíve all proven to be so excellent at giving info and suggestions on Escape issues, I thought Iíd appeal to your wisdom as experienced RVers! Our non-RVing friends and family make attempts to give advice (use AirBNB instead! just go for it!) but it's not based on anything and not really helpful.

I need a final decision on whether we should go ahead and finalize our Escape in January. We have no more delays before we must fish or cut bait. No-one can answer this for me, but Iím curious to hear what you would do if you were in our shoes! Weíre only 32 and 35, so it feels maybe too risky for our age, yet I love the idea of an Escape because I know that if we choose to, we can sell it for little loss, right? I know many of you are retiring or close, and well in tuned with financial planning, so I hope itís ok if I mention some finances.

Iíve always been a penny pinching planner, happier to sacrifice now for a more stable future, but I also really want to do the Escape and travel for my husband and I, and also for our 3 yr old! If I had to choose travel or security, I would rather have money in the bank and know that in times of trouble, at least we have cash, but I also would love to give my family this opportunity if itís not an either or type of choice. Hereís a brief outline of ďus.Ē

Weíre a nurse and an attorney, both self-employed, neither making much right now as weíve halted our lives in the last few yrs due to medical problems for my son. Heís going to be fine, heís not handicapped, heís just had an extremely hard 3 yrs due to severe GI pain. Our earned income is essentially zero, and we donít get any government assistance. We were blessed with a gift in the bank of enough to retire on if we or the market donít lose it, which we keep conservatively invested. We get some income from that I believe. We have solid cars and home and no debt. We have the cash for the Escape. We spend crazy amounts on health insurance, healthcare, and health foods, but other than that, not much to speak of. We do anticipate receiving an even larger inheritance in the next 20 years, but are not willing to risk the stability of our family on that future probability.

My husband will earn an income again sooner than later, and most likely I will work some in the future but not for years. (To give my husband credit, he is now back up to working to help my dad get a small business started, but income is zero.) A strange financial time to buy a camper, but we are extremely unencumbered. Our first priority is never wanting to make a decision that will require that we work away from the family more or make life harder at all, just to support our lifestyle or have things. Obviously the easy answer to that is no camper.

I would honestly rather have nothing and know that we are safe and secure, than travel, as we do have a very good life at home. I would rather be able to provide for my son as he grows up, while being home with him, than to travel. That said, my parents took us on vacations across the country despite lean times when we were younger, and my husband and I dream of hitting the road again. (As a side benefit, my husband will travel with the product their small business creates and market it as we go.) I also intend to homeschool my son, and how magical it would be to do studies on the run!

It seems like Escapes lose about $1000/yr on resale value (?), and I feel like itís fairly safe to say $1000/yr is a reasonable amount to spend on vacations. I know there will be additional expenses per year with the Escape, but any idea what that may amount to? We plan on loading up on most options, and also getting a generator, hoping to make our travel comfortable, and allow boondocking whenever possible. We travel cheaply.

What kind of real financial and time expenditure will come from Escape ownership and upkeep? There are times when my son is not doing so well, and life kind of grinds to a halt and things get neglected. Will the Escape need constant love and attention? (We live in South Louisiana in case temperature is relevant.)

Help! Can anyone chime in?
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Old 01-06-2018, 06:07 PM   #2
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That was an interesting post. Here's my take. If you want to RV, you really can't go wrong with a quality fiberglass trailer like an Escape. Not only is it practical, easy to tow and durable, but your resale value will be unmatched. If it turns out you want to go in a different direction after you've had it for awhile, you can sell it literally in a day or two for about what you paid for it. I've even had unsolicited offers to buy my 19 for the same or more than I paid in 2015.

Escapes hold up extremely well. For low maintenance and almost carefree ownership, it's hard to beat a quality molded fiberglass trailer. Your operating and maintenance costs will be minimal, except of course for the main expenditures which are gas, food, propane, etc. Regular maintenace will be simple. Things like repacking the wheel bearings every year or two, maybe recaulking some spots like around the roof vents in a few years as the caulk ages, , replacing the water heater anode, keeping the trailer clean, etc.

Lots of folks say "maybe someday" for their entire lives. They wait too long. They finally get a trailer and sure enough, within a a year or two it's posted for sale because health issues now make RVing impossible. You're young enough that you can have many decades, Lord willing, of wonderful adventures in an RV. It's not my money so this is easy to say, but I say go for it.
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Old 01-06-2018, 06:22 PM   #3
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I went to Africa (Kenya) for 5 weeks when I was 26 years old. I never regretted spending the money (which was about all the savings I had at that time), and all these many years have been grateful for the experiences and the memories.

As long as your Escape doesn't spend most of its life sitting in storage, I don't see how you can go wrong. As Robert said, you can always sell it if your situation changes.
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Old 01-06-2018, 06:27 PM   #4
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Adrienne, I vote you get the Escape now and start making memories with your young son that he will cherish the rest of his life. Having a travelling home-school sounds wonderful. One of our major decisions in getting our camper was the never-ending increase in hotel room rates where we like to vacation combined with what seemed to be a continuing decline in cleanliness of the those hotel rooms. With the camper, we know exactly who last slept in our bed (us!) and when the sheets were last laundered! As for camper upkeep, given that you home-base in Louisiana, I think you'll want too keep it under roof when not traveling to protect it from the hot summer sun and all that rain. So some kind of garage or car port would be beneficial. Plan on repacking the wheel bearings every year or so and new tires every five years or so, but other than that, there shouldn't be any other big-ticket planned upkeep - although we all know that "stuff" happens, and you just have to deal with it when it does. Well, that's my 2 cents worth. Best of luck with your decision....
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Old 01-06-2018, 06:37 PM   #5
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Do not forget that it will cost you money to use the Escape. We spent over $2,000 for a 2 week trip to and from Osoyoos to attend the annual Escape Rally- see here for details
http://www.escapeforum.org/forums/f4...oos-11456.html
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Old 01-06-2018, 06:39 PM   #6
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We have been doing in an Escape 15 with our 11 year old for several years. The Escape is great, easy to keep in good condition, and I can sell ors easily if needed. Don't wait too long. It does go quickly! You will have a blast.
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Old 01-06-2018, 07:05 PM   #7
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As far as low maintenance, Escapes are perfect because they don't get leaky and are quality made. We rented an Escape for several years and then bought one second hand. I wish we had bought sooner and have absolutely no regrets with our purchase. Resale value is crazy good. Judging by your post, you are truly blessed. No debt, freedom to travel, financial security and you prioritize quality of life over consumerism. If I were you, I would absolutely go for it. Your child is at the perfect age to start exploring/adventuring with. You will make memories that are priceless. Happy travels
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Old 01-06-2018, 07:55 PM   #8
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My wife and I pondered over getting an Escape, we researched a lot of trailers and decided on an Escape because of bang for your buck and especially customer satisfaction.
With Escapeís custom build trailers you can make them exactly what you want, a big plus for me.
We have now been traveling for over 6 weeks and have purchased a dehumidifier (Oregon was wet and cool) as well as a space heater (to use camp ground power to heat). The only problem we have had is a water leak but that has been the only issue since purchasing the trailer and Escape was helpful with a resolution.
It is a personal choice to travel in an RV, is it cheaper ? Camp grounds are not as cheap as they used to be but off season rates can be very appealing if offered.
Good Luck with your decision and happy travels.
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Old 01-06-2018, 08:15 PM   #9
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I'm glad to know that maintenance really is so little. I see so many tinkering posts, but it seems they are mostly elective.

Also glad to hear the reassurance of just how easy it would be to reverse course if needed.

How much boondocking can one realistically do vs staying somewhere with hookups? With conservative water use, how often do you need to dump? Hoping to save as much as possible on RV site costs. We don't use hair dryer, TV, etc but will need one computer alot of times.
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Old 01-06-2018, 08:24 PM   #10
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We bought our 19 last Spring and have never regretted our decision. Our only regret is that we didn't do it earlier. We had a pop up camper for 17 years and loved every trip we took with it with our young daughter. While we loved the pop up there were many times that a trailer would have been a godsend. We thought about a trailer but never could find the perfect one until we stumbled upon the Escape brand. I would never trade those trips we took as a family and the memories we made. Those are things that you can't put a price on. Life flies by way too fast and you never want to look back and say should have, would have, could have. If you go the Escape route and decide the whole experience is not for you your investment will be minimal as I truly believe you will have no problem selling yours at an extremely fair price. Good luck with your decision.
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Old 01-06-2018, 08:29 PM   #11
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We have now been traveling for over 6 weeks and have purchased a dehumidifier (Oregon was wet and cool) as well as a space heater (to use camp ground power to heat)... Camp grounds are not as cheap as they used to be but off season rates can be very appealing if offered.
In a humid climate at home, will I need to run a dehumidifier continuously? Can this be done self-contained on solar?

Have you found satisfactory free camping options, or do you stick with hookups each night?
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Old 01-06-2018, 08:37 PM   #12
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We bought our 19 last Spring and have never regretted our decision. Our only regret is that we didn't do it earlier. We had a pop up camper for 17 years and loved every trip we took with it with our young daughter. While we loved the pop up there were many times that a trailer would have been a godsend. We thought about a trailer but never could find the perfect one until we stumbled upon the Escape brand. I would never trade those trips we took as a family and the memories we made. Those are things that you can't put a price on. Life flies by way too fast and you never want to look back and say should have, would have, could have. If you go the Escape route and decide the whole experience is not for you your investment will be minimal as I truly believe you will have no problem selling yours at an extremely fair price. Good luck with your decision.
This is the essence of what keeps pushing me to go against my natural tendency to save money above all else. Your position and the penny pinching position have been battling for months. Anything could happen, so do you save and store up or live? Does live mean we need to buy a camper ? It's a tough call, but somebody's got to do it!

This is also the very encouragement I was hoping for, that if we say nope, not right for us, we can turn around with little damage.

Does anyone have an idea of what happens with resale after 10 or so years? I've seen great numbers for 5-8 yr old Escapes, but how long does that hold?

EDIT: also, my husband won't do anything with a soft side, even a pop up. I convinced him to tent camp ONCE. after being surrounded by coyotes, or at least it sounded like it, and our dogs on full alert all night, we decided to accept that we might not see daylight, and went to sleep. Needless to say, that was his last soft side camping experience probably ever
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Old 01-06-2018, 08:39 PM   #13
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but I also really want to do the Escape and travel for my husband and I, and also for our 3 yr old! (... snip) as weíve halted our lives in the last few yrs due to medical problems for my son. Heís going to be fine, heís not handicapped, heís just had an extremely hard 3 yrs due to severe GI pain.
Did you try a low FODMAP diet? Worked wonders for me.

Of course everyone's gonna tell you to get the trailer. This is a forum for trailer owners or wanna-be owners.

I'd write down the pros and cons of getting a trailer now against not getting one. Only you and your husband can make that decision for yourselves.

Figure out what sort of places you want to visit. Will you need to upgrade your vehicle for towing? something else to consider and to possibly spend money on.

Yep, your decision alone. Good luck with it.

Oh, something I did before we got the trailer. I rented a motorhome and took a 3 week trip from Seattle to Sacramento and back. I knew I didn't want a motorhome, but I needed to know if I could handle the camping aspect of owning an RV. Sure, it cost wads of money, but it was money well spent in terms of getting something I wasn't too sure of and wasting thousands on a crappy rig that I didn't really want in the end. AND that motorhome rental showed me I didn't need anything really big to travel in. After I got back we started seriously looking and discovered fiberglass trailers.
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Old 01-06-2018, 08:45 PM   #14
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In a humid climate at home, will I need to run a dehumidifier continuously? Can this be done self-contained on solar?

Have you found satisfactory free camping options, or do you stick with hookups each night?
A dehumidifier will probably be unnecessary for you, even in Louisiana, because when humidity becomes uncomfortable in your area, there's heat as well. The air conditioner will dehumidify as well as cool. You might want some sort of dehumidification when storing the trailer, but probably not alot when using it.

As for boondocking, there are lots of places in Louisiana, not so many here in Texas. The only issue with boondocking in the south is, you're talking about October to April. After that you'll want AC for the most part, and that requires hookups at an established campground or RV park. You could always hit the road and head to cooler climes during the months of May through September, and just boondock there.

One benefit of living in a hot climate like we do, is that when we do head north, and our northern friends are complaining about the summer heat, we feel fine. We're so used to the real heat that any break, even a slight one, feels comfortable to us. This opens up boondocking opportunities for us that others might not consider.
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Old 01-06-2018, 09:07 PM   #15
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When you see moisture on the windows (we have double glazed with extra insulation and foam underneath) you need some way to control it. The dehumidifier works but you need full hook up. There are some non power methods sold at Walmart and other stores I think itís like desiccant. When it rains a lot and your all inside or have wet clothing you will need some type of moisture control. The solar gain we got with the solar panel was not enough to run the unit over night but you could through the day all depending on sunlight.
As far as free camping we have tried a Walmart (found it noisy), more and more are not offering overnight camping any more. Many Casinos have free or minimal charge camping (have not tried yet).
We use an app called Allstays, it cost about $15.00 and requires wifi service. This has been very helpful in locating campsites and it also has a price estimation with links to websites and reviews. As far as cost we aimed for $30.00 a night full hook up and $20.00 dry, what we found is off season travel can help costís. The most we have paid is $47.00 a night.
Auto club membership and KOA membership will get you some discounts. I donít think there is much free camping but there are boondocking websites. We have friends with property on a lake and they let us stay for wine
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Old 01-06-2018, 09:11 PM   #16
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Hi Southern Camper
It’s our observation that depreciation varies somewhere between 0 and 10%.
Best of luck with your decision!
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Old 01-06-2018, 09:22 PM   #17
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How much boondocking can one realistically do vs staying somewhere with hookups? With conservative water use, how often do you need to dump? Hoping to save as much as possible on RV site costs. We don't use hair dryer, TV, etc but will need one computer alot of times.
With the ETI 160 watt panel on the roof and a 100 watt portable we were able to go without hookups for 60 days straight in Sept-Oct. Most of that time was in California on the east side of the sierras. We have become very efficient with water usage and can go 8 days between dumps (using campground bathrooms as much as possible). We use 12 volt equipment as much as possible. The TV was 120 VAC but it had a power brick that converted it to 14 VDC so I just bypassed the brick with 12 VDC direct and it works fine. Both of our computers need 120 VDC but again this gets stepped down and converted to DC. I was able to find 12 volt chargers on eBay that replaced the 120 volt. So it's all doable.
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Old 01-06-2018, 09:27 PM   #18
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For inexpensive camping it's hard to beat the New Mexico state parks. $14 for power and water hookups, $10 for no hookups. Nice bathrooms usually, many with showers.
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Old 01-06-2018, 09:33 PM   #19
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As for boondocking, there are lots of places in Louisiana, not so many here in Texas. The only issue with boondocking in the south is, you're talking about October to April. After that you'll want AC for the most part, and that requires hookups at an established campground or RV park. You could always hit the road and head to cooler climes during the months of May through September, and just boondock there.
Oh yes, I'm not even going to TRY boondocking around here for most of the year! Definitely have to head upward for that!
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Old 01-06-2018, 09:37 PM   #20
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With the ETI 160 watt panel on the roof and a 100 watt portable we were able to go without hookups for 60 days straight in Sept-Oct. Most of that time was in California on the east side of the sierras. We have become very efficient with water usage and can go 8 days between dumps (using campground bathrooms as much as possible). We use 12 volt equipment as much as possible. The TV was 120 VAC but it had a power brick that converted it to 14 VDC so I just bypassed the brick with 12 VDC direct and it works fine. Both of our computers need 120 VDC but again this gets stepped down and converted to DC. I was able to find 12 volt chargers on eBay that replaced the 120 volt. So it's all doable.
That sounds so dreamy!
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