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Old 01-20-2014, 09:39 AM   #1
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Escape 5th wheel vs Escape trailers in use….

I know I'm going to ruffle some feathers and cause a ruckus, but it is going to snow and I thought a good round table discussion on a heated subject would keep us warm.
In the Escape 5th model, it appears that for winter use they would be a lot colder than the conventional Escape. Here are my observations, first the bed is mounted over a unheated outside area. In the trailers, you have a unheated interior air space, maybe 15" in depth that raises the bed off the floor. This space will provide some benefit in keeping the bed warmer over one placed directly on the floor. In addition, heat can be allowed to enter the area under the bed easily. Another observation is the huge hole over your head in the the 5th model. You go to all the trouble to insulating the walls and windows but leave the door cracked. That escape hatch will need some sort of protection and insulating to eliminate the "cold wall" effect on the bed. Finally the furnace is located down in the lower level with the thermostat. In the conventional trailer the furnace is a lot closer to the bed. With the bed up in the loft it would seem that it would take a lot of running to keep the loft warm and the thermostat may prevent that from happening since it is located on the lower level. If one were to move the thermostat higher, then the lower would get too hot. Some sort of auxiliary heating is needed in the loft to keep both areas a warm constant.
So these three areas appear to me to make the 5th model somewhat colder in the winter and warmer in the summer versus the conventional Escape trailer model. Anyone else have any thoughts?
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Old 01-20-2014, 09:45 AM   #2
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Monday Morning Ruckus, eh?
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Old 01-20-2014, 09:55 AM   #3
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Hot air rises (think a hot air balloon). Cold air drops.

The loft area will be nice and toasty.
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Old 01-20-2014, 10:18 AM   #4
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Jim,

Your points are good, but there are some mitigating factors. As Dave points out, hot air rises so if there's decent air movement (that is, assuming you don't use curtains or some such) the air in the bunk area should be as warm or warmer than the air in the rest of the trailer. Regardless of the location of the thermostat. On the other other hand, this assumes "decent" air flow. I don't have a good notion of how much air flow would be necessary to counter the effects of heat loss through the walls of the bunk area.

As for cold under the bunk area, yeah it might be a problem. On the other hand, the mattress likely provides a good bit of insulation. But it probably wouldn't hurt to put more down. An easy fix, I think.

Heat loss through the escape hatch, and just in general through the walls/ceiling/floor of the bunk area (it has a very large surface area to volume ratio, so will lose heat relatively quickly), is a problem. I assume ETI doesn't do anything special for insulation. If you're camping in the winter and find it to be a problem, you might want to add your own insulation -- window coverings, modern tapestry-equivalents, whatever.

As for warming in the summer... I guess if you're in seriously warm climes, where you don't want to open the windows, it might be a concern. Otherside I think you'd get good air flow through the bunk area.

All this is just theoretical... Haven't slept in a 5th...
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Old 01-20-2014, 10:50 AM   #5
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We have an Escape 5.0. We haven't done any really cold weather camping in it yet but have used the heater and so far it all works fine. In just a very few minutes the heater warms up the whole trailer. We've been camping in low 40's overnight.

We have a sheet of relectix that we put into the emergency hatch overhead and also on the windows in the bed area....also keeps it nice and dark! we have curtains between the main area and the bed but there is about a 3 inch gap above the curtain rod for air circulation. Typically we don't run the heater at night so the curtain probably keeps our body heat in a little. If we felt we had to run the heater at night, we'd just leave the curtain open probably.
We did install a thermal drape over the Escape door and think that helps with insulation.
Our plan if we do colder weather camping is to put a layer of reflextic under the mattress...we already have a layer of drymesh there.

We had a Scamp 5er before the Escape and did have some colder nights but again, the heater is so oversized for the trailer that it was never a problem. We used the reflectix on the windows and emergency hatch there too. And the mattresses on both trailers are such a dense foam that it insulates pretty well. Besides, I always use a hot water bottle under the covers by my feet ... works great.
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Old 01-20-2014, 10:51 AM   #6
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Jim, after talking it over with you briefly yesterday Deb and I discussed the issue on the way home and decided the winter heating issues really doesn't matter to us as we're heading where it's warmer in the winters now that were retired. Currently we can go to about the freezing mark before the hybrid gets too uncomfortable to hassle with, having an enclosed trailer of any sort will extend our season in the north by at least a month on either end, which is all we need. For us, if it gets down below freezing, we'll head farther south, because we can.

A quick search for "truck camper escape hatch insulation" shows some remedies if needed. Here's one that addresses the mattress, temp, and hatch issues, I didn't look any further.


TC's are well known for cold weather use so it would seem a good place to look for info on your concerns.

Good topic, one folks should mull over when thinking 5th wheels.

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Old 01-20-2014, 11:55 AM   #7
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Jim this is obviously just a bad case of 5th wheel envy...
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Old 01-20-2014, 12:20 PM   #8
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Actually it is the opposite, I just think there is an inherent weakness in some products over
comparables, for certain type of camping or individuals, IMHO! As Donna says , YMMV!
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Old 01-20-2014, 12:25 PM   #9
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We have a 2013 5.0 with extra insulation, double pane windows (non-opening in the loft), and insulation under the floor. We've camped in temps down to about 40 deg F. Not very cold but cool enough to think of ways to minimize heat loss.

The escape hatch above the bed is great in warm weather but we stuff a piece of reflectex over it when it's cold. We always leave the fan vent and our awning style window over the sink open at night for ventilation. Haven't had any condensation problems. We noticed that under our bed is a patch of reflectex in the center and carpeting around the perimeter. That, the mattress, and a nice warm quilt has kept us toasty on the coldest nights.

I suppose having a heated air space under the bed would certainly make it warmer, but so far it hasn't been a problem.

I noticed on ours that under the sink where the plumbing for the exterior shower goes through the wall it was not sealed at all. Two big holes that I covered with reflectex.

We selected our options for early spring and late fall in New England. I think for true extended winter camping the plumbing would have to be winterized and not used regardless of which model Escape you have.
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Old 01-20-2014, 12:45 PM   #10
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I camped last year in the single digits with a heated water supply hose, quite comfortable!!
i just wonder what the experience was with the 5th wheel in same scenario.
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