I just wanted to give a quick summary of our experience picking up our "Classic" 5.0 TA and bringing it back to Central Texas via Glacier, Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks. Overall, it was an excellent 2 weeks and I think we're going to be happy with our Escape for years to come.
Tow Rig - 2015 Ford F150, Extended cab, 2.7 Ecoboost, 36 gal tank, 3.73 differential, 6.5' bed. This truck and config makes a great tow vehicle for the 5.0! I never lacked for power up and down 6% grades and in 35 mph gusts. My gas mileage to Chilliwack (sans trailer) was 23.4 mpg, and on the return (combo of hitched and unhitched), we got about 15.1 mpg. I don't have tow mirrors and didn't want for them. Ford has done a good job integrating tow and navigation functions and driving the truck simply wasn't the "work" I've been used to in the past when hitched.
Trailer - I purposefully designed our 5.0 to be self-sufficient, with solar and 12V (and not an inverter, microwave, etc). After the first night at the Lynden KOA, we spent a week and a half without any hookups and the trailer performed perfectly and w/o compromise. We had access to dump stations in all the parks, so I made sure to keep the grey/black tanks empty and the fresh tank full before transitioning to the next location. The extra insulation above and below earned its pay as we hit temps in the high 80s and lows of 26 and 18 without any discomfort.
On the downside, one major ding on the ETI guys is that the table is dimensionally too large to sit on the rails as intended, and since it slides side to side, it tends to sit on the rail on one side and the bench lip on the other. It seems like this would have been obvious in the construction of the table top, the QA process, AND when they mounted our marine pedestal. I'm really not sure how to address this yet, but I imagine I'll either need to trim down the table top and re-edge it, or remove the oak veneer on both sides of the bench to get it to set on the rails properly. A trip back to Chilliwack for resolution isn't in my future...
Here are some specific comments about features and additions:
BAK Revolver x2 Tonneau - love this thing. It's not supposed to be waterproof, but kept everything dry and protected despite 2 really rough hail storms and some driving rain.
Anderson Ultimate Hitch - Our rail-mount version worked well. I never removed it and it fit under the tonneau when not in use. I didn't have the extra chains and was never questioned.
Mr Heater Buddy - long story short, we didn't
have Escape install the standard heater/blower, but instead are going to install a Dickinson P9000 fireplace. In lieu of a heater, we temporarily used this small propane heater on the trip home and it got actually too hot after a short while. So, 5 stars for performance, but it used up a 1 lb propane cylinder in approx 6 hrs.
Oxygenics shower head - the wife likes her showers, and expects me to reciprocate, so we used the Oxygenics shower head every night. We kept our bathing short and sweet and never ran out of hot water, or fresh water, when in use off-grid for a couple of nights before refilling the fresh tank.
Refrigerator - the standard Dometic fridge performed well in moderate and cool temps. I'll be interested in testing it in Texas 100 degree weather. I tried it on AC, battery and propane. All worked well, but it really chews up battery capacity even on good solar days.
Pot Set - I mention this item because I think this forum gets really wrapped around the axle on specific products and features; this isn't bad necessarily, just the results of a bunch of opinionated people discussing their passions. Anywho, the Magna nested pots get all kinds of rave reviews here, which are probably justified. However, I just couldn't swallow $150-240 for cookware, so I went with a comparable set of Stansport nested pots
for $50 and was completely pleased with their quality and performance. I got an extra handle with pliers grip, which was helpful.
Thanks to everyone on the forum for educating me and helping to make this Escape our lifelong "tiny home away from home"!