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Old 01-05-2016, 10:52 AM   #11
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Holy cow THANKS to each and every one of you for the wonderful, thoughtful posts. I really appreciate it!

Lots for me to think about.
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Old 01-05-2016, 11:29 AM   #12
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I have some input for a few of these:

4) I haven't had any problems with the bathroom window.

6) Regarding the backup camera, I keep going back and forth on this. Initially I didn't think it was necessary, but on my long trip last year I ended up in some oddly-configured campsites that were difficult to back into (and in some cases, get out of). A backup camera would have been useful then. But I am traveling alone.

7) I have the extra insulation and double-paned windows, and even with these options my furnace seems to run a lot in cold weather. I'd go for the insulation at least.

8) You can tow with the fridge on 12V and initially I tried to do this. But that fridge draws 14 amps at 12V, and during a day of towing it will draw down the batteries even with the sun on the solar panel and the tow vehicle's alternator charging the batteries. It's not a big deal in the summer, but if you're towing in the fall or early spring and are relying on rooftop solar power after you set up camp, your batteries may never recover from being drained on your travel day. I finally gave up and started using propane when on the road.
With the fridge on propane, your solar panel + six-volt batteries should be enough while camping.

12) The bathroom vent is stock. It is useful combined with the bathroom window when you want to get some of the moisture out of the bathroom without interfering with air circulation in the rest of the trailer.
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Old 01-05-2016, 11:42 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Losangeles View Post

five) Can anyone convince me to spend $60 to get the foot flush option on the toilet? I checked out an Escape with the stock side flush handle and i thought it was just fine.

six) Anyone have the $400 Back Up camera option? The Tadi Brothers Back-Up Camera.
My wife wants it to look out for tailgaters, when driving (we have found that a couple little taps on the brakes makes a tailgater back off REAL fast) and i want it for a little help backing up. (I always do a walk around, plus my wife spots, but a back up camera would make it easier for me to SEE my wife and understand what to do.... she is very soft spoken and often doesn't yell instructions loudly enough)
People happy with it?

eleven) At night we tend to use headlamps. Do I want to get an optional outside light over the front storage box?

Would be be useful to keep idiots from hitting our Escape, when we are unhooked and not there? (leave it on while we are gone, at night)

thirteen) The wife wants the $150 “Storage Cubby Cabinet Bins for Outside Bathroom Door” for toiletries. Any downside?
While we don't own a trailer (yet!), I can give you my thoughts on your questions.

5.) Why worry about being convinced on the foot flush toilet if the standard one is fine by you? We're getting the foot flush as I don't want to bend over all the time for flushing, but that's me. You're not me (good thing! HA!).

6.) It's called a "back up camera", not "rear view camera" for a reason. Big difference there. We're getting it as there will be many times I'll be using the trailer by myself. If it's the two of you using it all the time, then go with the walky talkies someone else mentioned (great idea, by the way and that way you're not annoying others with the yelled instructions).

Another way to look at the camera option - if one of you keels over and won't be there, will the other person use the trailer on their own? If so, the back up camera will be very helpful. It's done at the factory, which is easier than installing it later on.

11.) Are you asking if people will hit your trailer when your tow is gone? With their own vehicle? Or with their fists? It might be the second if they get too annoyed by the light being left on all the time and it shines in their eyes. It's a white trailer - I imagine it would be hard to miss seeing if someone was trying to park in your spot by mistake. If for another reason, you've been in some wild campsites!

13.) We're not getting the cubbies, either next to the bathroom or over the bed. Neither of us liked the looks of 'em and it gave a more cluttered look (to us). Instead we're getting an extended cabinet over the drawer unit. Yeah, it's more money, but it won't look as cluttered inside with the cubbies showing what all is in there. This way stuff can be stashed on the shelves or in the drawers.
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Old 01-05-2016, 12:22 PM   #14
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Oh, I forgot to comment on the cubbies (Q.13)-- I have the ones near the bathroom door and I like them. Most of the time they are covered by the curtain that slides in front of the trailer door, so you don't see the contents. In fact, initially this was a problem-- when I drove out to pick up my trailer I lost some prescription drugs. I called a couple of the hotels I had stayed in on the way out to see if I had left them behind, but no luck. Turns out I had put the medicine in the cubbies then pulled the curtain over them, making me forget the cubbies were there. I guess that's the kind of mistake you only make once.
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Old 01-05-2016, 12:40 PM   #15
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I don't have a 21, but travel with a 17, so I can speak to a couple of your points.

Back Up Camera - I have one (according to Reace, the first that Escape installed in a trailer). Mine is wired, and since I travel solo, extremely useful. I can switch between the RAV4 camera & the trailer camera, either can be on at any time, and the trailer camera serves as a close quarters rear view mirror. The 5" monitor sits on the extreme left hand side of the dashboard in line with the outside rear view mirrors so switching view between them is not distracting.

A couple of times I've had to back up at a gas station or store, and without it I would not be able to tell if someone had just stepped behind the trailer (again, I travel solo). It is not all that useful backing into a campsite - the view is too wide to be accurate. I prefer getting out & looking.

Running the refrigerator on 12V - A constant 14 amp draw will not be replaced by a single 150 watt solar panel and the typical charge line on most tow vehicles unless you only make short drives between 10:00 & 2:00 on summer days. While the food may stay cold, your batteries will not be full by the end of the day. Whether that is a problem will depend on your overnight usage. Don't depend on the built in battery monitor lights or the solar controller for the state of charge of your batteries - both are terribly over optimistic. I have a Trimetric battery monitor, and the GoPower controller will often tell me I'm at 100% when the more accurate battery monitor shows I'm down by as much as 30 amp hours.

Solar & Dual 6V Batteries - I have both, starting out with a single 95 watt panel. My refrigerator does not have a 12V option, but I do have a 1000 watt inverter & like to make a pot of coffee each morning. Between toasting an English Muffin, making a pot of coffee, recharging lots of batteries, cell phone amp & power hungry laptop, I usually go through 30 - 40 amp hours per day.

As long as I camp in the summer with high angle sun, I have had no problem keeping the batteries in good shape. Even camping in fairly shady sites (Apgar in Glacier National Park for 3 days) I rarely end up down to 85% by the end of the day.

Winter is a different story. Dry camping with the low angle sun & shorter daylight hours proved to be too much for the 95 Watt panel. I purchased a 160 watt portable panel from Solar Blvd & combined with the rooftop panel & being able to aim it at the sun, solved the winter problem.

To avoid having to set up the portable panel, for a trip to Alaska this summer, I added a 100 watt rooftop panel. The combination worked well in June & July with the long days even with the lower angle sun & I didn't need the portable panel.

I'm currently in Quartzsite, AZ on the 45th day of dry camping, and while there isn't any shade, the nights have been very cold, requiring lots of furnace time. I'm probably doing closer to 40 - 50 amp hours per day, and as long as there is full sun, the rooftop panels plus the portable do OK. Even with a total of 355 watts, multiple cloudy days will leave the batteries less than full by the end of the day.

I guess what I'm trying to say is the solar panel will be a big help in keeping your batteries charged, however is is fairly easy to take out more than it can replace. Unless you keep track of what you use, even with additional panels, poor solar conditions can leave you with a deficit.

Sorry to be so long winded, but hope this helps...
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Old 01-05-2016, 12:42 PM   #16
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Oh, I forgot to comment on the cubbies (Q.13)-- I have the ones near the bathroom door and I like them. Most of the time they are covered by the curtain that slides in front of the trailer door, so you don't see the contents. In fact, initially this was a problem-- when I drove out to pick up my trailer I lost some prescription drugs. I called a couple of the hotels I had stayed in on the way out to see if I had left them behind, but no luck. Turns out I had put the medicine in the cubbies then pulled the curtain over them, making me forget the cubbies were there. I guess that's the kind of mistake you only make once.
Hi: Mike Lewis... "Out of sight out of mind" Eh? I find the more I age the more shrouded by a curtain I am. Alf
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Old 01-05-2016, 12:50 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vermilye View Post
I don't have a 21, but travel with a 17, so I can speak to a couple of your points.

Back Up Camera - I have one (according to Reace, the first that Escape installed in a trailer). Mine is wired, and since I travel solo, extremely useful. I can switch between the RAV4 camera & the trailer camera, either can be on at any time, and the trailer camera serves as a close quarters rear view mirror. The 5" monitor sits on the extreme left hand side of the dashboard in line with the outside rear view mirrors so switching view between them is not distracting.

A couple of times I've had to back up at a gas station or store, and without it I would not be able to tell if someone had just stepped behind the trailer (again, I travel solo). It is not all that useful backing into a campsite - the view is too wide to be accurate. I prefer getting out & looking.

Running the refrigerator on 12V - A constant 14 amp draw will not be replaced by a single 150 watt solar panel and the typical charge line on most tow vehicles unless you only make short drives between 10:00 & 2:00 on summer days. While the food may stay cold, your batteries will not be full by the end of the day. Whether that is a problem will depend on your overnight usage. Don't depend on the built in battery monitor lights or the solar controller for the state of charge of your batteries - both are terribly over optimistic. I have a Trimetric battery monitor, and the GoPower controller will often tell me I'm at 100% when the more accurate battery monitor shows I'm down by as much as 30 amp hours.

Solar & Dual 6V Batteries - I have both, starting out with a single 95 watt panel. My refrigerator does not have a 12V option, but I do have a 1000 watt inverter & like to make a pot of coffee each morning. Between toasting an English Muffin, making a pot of coffee, recharging lots of batteries, cell phone amp & power hungry laptop, I usually go through 30 - 40 amp hours per day.

As long as I camp in the summer with high angle sun, I have had no problem keeping the batteries in good shape. Even camping in fairly shady sites (Apgar in Glacier National Park for 3 days) I rarely end up down to 85% by the end of the day.

Winter is a different story. Dry camping with the low angle sun & shorter daylight hours proved to be too much for the 95 Watt panel. I purchased a 160 watt portable panel from Solar Blvd & combined with the rooftop panel & being able to aim it at the sun, solved the winter problem.

To avoid having to set up the portable panel, for a trip to Alaska this summer, I added a 100 watt rooftop panel. The combination worked well in June & July with the long days even with the lower angle sun & I didn't need the portable panel.

I'm currently in Quartzsite, AZ on the 45th day of dry camping, and while there isn't any shade, the nights have been very cold, requiring lots of furnace time. I'm probably doing closer to 40 - 50 amp hours per day, and as long as there is full sun, the rooftop panels plus the portable do OK. Even with a total of 355 watts, multiple cloudy days will leave the batteries less than full by the end of the day.

I guess what I'm trying to say is the solar panel will be a big help in keeping your batteries charged, however is is fairly easy to take out more than it can replace. Unless you keep track of what you use, even with additional panels, poor solar conditions can leave you with a deficit.

Sorry to be so long winded, but hope this helps...
Thanks Jon!! Really specific info, beautifully written up. Love every word.

And thanks again to everyone who keeps posting... all great thoughts.

I'm realizing that I MAY go out in the Escape without my wife.... so for all the reasons Jon mentions above the back up camera would be handy, on occasion.

The walkie talkie idea is also great. (posts above)

and yes... we have (and will) camp in some pretty unusual spots, (with permission) that are not regular campsites.

and yes I promise to not leave any exterior lights blasting away, unattended, that would disturb others.

I forget the exact number..... (100 lbs?) ... one reason to not get the double paned glass was extra weight.... however there are other ways to save on weight. I'm just being cautious on weight, overall, as our tug is (and will likely always be) a big SUV, not a pickup.
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Old 01-05-2016, 01:07 PM   #18
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[QUOTE=Losangeles;123235]Hi all


Question: other than $200, are there any DOWNSIDES to having it be LP and 120v?

* No downsides and I do use it if the site has power.

three) do most people get the WARM LED lights (as opposed to the cool white) I am strongly leaning towards the WARM…. as the cool is just so cold looking.

* Cool white makes me feel like I'm living in a fridge.

four) other than $200, any downsides for the optional opening bathroom window? We use the Casitas a LOT as it allows fresh air coming in, even if it rains…. no worries if it is open and it rains at night.

* If there's one option I wouldn't ever omit on any RV, it's the opening bathroom window.

five) Can anyone convince me to spend $60 to get the foot flush option on the toilet? I checked out an Escape with the stock side flush handle and i thought it was just fine.

* Yup, works just fine, for me, it's just that momentary unpleasantness leaning down to flush the contents. Would get foot flush in future.

six) Anyone have the $400 Back Up camera option? The Tadi Brothers Back-Up Camera.
My wife wants it to look out for tailgaters, when driving (we have found that a couple little taps on the brakes makes a tailgater back off REAL fast)
and i want it for a little help backing up. (I always do a walk around, plus my wife spots, but a back up camera would make it easier for me to SEE my wife and understand what to do.... she is very soft spoken and often doesn't yell instructions loudly enough)
People happy with it?

* I have a hard wire camera both on the back of the tug and the trailer. Not as useful as I first hoped but every once in a while it's handy.

seven) The Casita is nice with it’s “fur” on the interior walls … it NEVER condensates.
I am very tempted to get the extra insulation option (unsure of cost) but NOT the thicker (heavy) windows….
as we do boon-dock in a wide variety of temperatures. I really dont want condensation. Thoughts?
The extra insulation would make the interior slightly quieter, slightly less susceptible to outside sound, and less chance of condensation. (physics are physics)

* Negative, spend a night in an Escape with dual pane windows. The front window on the 19 is single glazed because of the exterior window guard. See the amount of condensation on it compared to the other double glazed windows. Also we feel the double glazed windows are quieter than our single glazed Scamp windows were.

eight) I prefer to NOT tow while the fridge is using LP. (I know the debate, no need to debate this issue here, thanks) :-)
It is my understanding that if we have the solar panel on the roof option, ($850) Plus the dual 6v batteries ($275) then the 21’ fridge could be run on 12v while under tow, correct?

* OK, no debate although we'd towed for tens of thousands of miles with it on. My tug alternator seems pretty healthy and that with the solar make towing with 12 volt pretty much a break even situation.

The roof solar option + dual 6v batteries would mean that we’d never have to bring our generator, as far as I see it. Correct? (Fridge and furnace can both run on LP, AFAIK)

* Never's a long time but many folks get by without a generator


ten) We do NOT like the U dinette option… there are only 3 of us camping. We prefer the stock dinette.

* Me too.

My notes from a few months ago tell me ”….(get the) hinged dinette table option ; as the dinnette would often be left as a bed… so not having to store the loose pedestals and not having the bases that are attached to the floor”
Not sure how that would differ from the stock 21’ dinette…. and what the cost is… and how that would work….. or if it is even a real option for me, with a 21’

* Hydraulic pedestal, only way to fly

eleven) At night we tend to use headlamps. Do I want to get an optional outside light over the front storage box?

* I like all round lights for security but if you want anti-collision lighting just jumper the 7 pin connector or wire an inside switch as I have done. Then you can leave the trailer running lights on for good visibility.



Ron
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Old 01-05-2016, 02:21 PM   #19
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My usual advice is to put it all on during the initial build as it is difficult or expensive to add a lot of these options later. And I guess you really appreciate what you get and don't miss what you don't have. One thing we haven't used yet is the exterior gas line. We bought a Weber grill and after using it decided to stick with the little propane bottles as we take it out to our deck to grill. But we are getting one of those gas fire pits, so will be using it for that. We like the cubbies. It was one of the first things that Cathy wanted when she saw them. The u-shaped dinette was one of the hardest and back and forth decisions we made. Finally went with it as we like the finished look in the rear, but also there is just the two of us. A hydraulic pedestal is one major change coming up. I appreciate the exterior light on the driver's side as have been in the dark more than once. A light over the storage box would be handy for after dark but I wouldn't leave it on. Good luck with your choices and it is a lot to think about. I breathed a big sigh of relief when the build sheet went in. And if you factor in the exchange rate as it stands today, it puts all of these options on sale.

We looked at the Casitas but decided that we wanted a little more room. And at 6' the extra headroom is really appreciated. Loren
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Old 01-05-2016, 03:19 PM   #20
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eight) I prefer to NOT tow while the fridge is using LP. (I know the debate, no need to debate this issue here, thanks) :-)
We will tow it with a big SUV. (again… I have done the research…. it is all good…. no need to debate our tug here)

It is my understanding that if we have the solar panel on the roof option, ($850) Plus the dual 6v batteries ($275) then the 21’ fridge could be run on 12v while under tow, correct?

The roof solar option + dual 6v batteries would mean that we’d never have to bring our generator, as far as I see it. Correct? (Fridge and furnace can both run on LP, AFAIK)

Thanks!
I tried an experiment one day...
Connect the truck, running at fast idle, to the trailer. Turned on the fridge and turned off the trailer batteries at the disconnect switch. This forced the truck to provide all the power for the fridge with no help from solar or batteries.

I then measured the voltage at the truck battery posts and was reading around 13.8. Then measuring the voltage in the trailer, near distribution panel, found 12.1 or so (doing this from my suspect memory). The total voltage drop was around 1.75 volts by time the juice got to the distribution panel due to the 12+ amp drain of the fridge when combined with the long run of undersize wiring in the trailer and truck.

What does this mean? Under normal circumstances the trailer switch would be in the On position and the solar and trailer batteries would be providing most, if not all, the power to the fridge. The truck alternator, while running fine, would not be contributing to the fridge operation. But had it been a cloudy day, or after dark with the solar contributing virtually nothing, the batteries would be drawn down to around 12.1 - more than half empty - by the end of a day's drive.

Bottom line: I run on propane when driving, and switch over to 12 v when filling the truck with gasoline.

Wether you need your generator with the solar/dual 6v option depends on your choice of campsite and electric use. If you stick to Mexico in the winter you should be just fine. On the other hand, if you camp above 50 degrees north in the fall/winter, you will probably be investing in an additional 100 to 150 watt portable solar panel to augment the main panel on the roof, or only camping where you can plug in your 110v cord. But before running out and buying more "stuff", go camping first and see what you really need. You may find the beaches in Mexico more to your liking than the snowbanks of Banff, Alberta in January.

--
Alan
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