An "office setup" for an Escape? Anyone? - Escape Trailer Owners Community

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Old 03-06-2017, 02:17 PM   #1
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An "office setup" for an Escape? Anyone?

I just ordered an Escape 17A (the rarest bird in the Escape flock). I've camped for 10 years, months at a time, in an Aliner Classic (an Aframe hard-sided popup). 8 years ago, I altered the two-bench dinette in my Aliner into an "office setup." I have a great comfy chair in which to relax, and I still have a table/work counter on which I can use my computer, eat meals, etc. I am hoping to create the same setup in my Escape 17A. I'd be interested in your thoughts as I prepare to start my build sheet.

The attached photos show my current Aliner trailer's "office setup" in place of its usual dinette/bench arrangement. Configuring an Escape 17A's 52" rear dinette area into this "office setup" shouldn't be hard to do if one bench can be removed. In my Aliner, whose dinette benches are only 40" long, the steps I followed were these:

1. the door-side dinette bench was removed (stored in my garage)

2. the table's folding legs (like an ironing board's legs) were removed

3. the surviving driver's-side bench's cushions were put in storage in the house

4. the legless tabletop (without altering it) was positioned against the wall above the surviving bench, supported in the following manner . . .

5. one end of the table was attached to the end of the kitchen counter's base cabinet

6. to the other end of the table, I added two pole legs. One of the legs goes all the way to the floor, the other (back in the corner) leg is a short stubby leg that rests on the top of the bench.

Voila! With the doorside bench removed and the tabletop moved over, there is plenty of room for a genuine comfy office chair (it rocks/reclines/swivels/rolls)!
* Plastic storage bins are kept on top of the bench under the table
* The small opening against the wall where the curved end of the table abuts the back of the stove countertop is actually handy -- that is where my computer cords, etc. are dropped through to underneath the table where an electrical outlet is located.

I love this "office setup"! I've enjoyed it for 8 years and 85,000 miles of traveling with my Aliner. I spend most of my "inside-the-camper time" lounging in that comfortable chair, often with my feet up! In an Escape 17A, I am hoping this setup would adapt very nicely to the rear dinette area. And it's especially a great idea for solo campers who don't need two dinette benches and who long for a "comfortable place to sit."

To see what I'm talking about, please see the attached photos of the "office area" of my current Aliner pop-up camper. Hopefully, these photos will help you visualize the "office area" I am hoping to create in an Escape 17A. (This is my first post with photos, so I hope it works!)

Questions I have:
* Can the curb-side rear dinette bench in a 17A be removed? (I don't know what is under that bench.)
* Has anyone else tried to create an "office space" with a comfy chair in an Escape? -- this should work in other Escape models too. Especially for solo campers who don't need two dinette benches but who would love to have a comfy chair to relax in, this is a tailor-made arrangement!
* Any other suggestions or thoughts about this idea?

Glenn T.
2016 Toyota Highlander Limited
2008 Aliner Classic (current)
2017 Escape 17A (ordered)
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Old 03-06-2017, 03:12 PM   #2
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With fiberglass trailers some cabinets as well as dinette bottoms are structural components. Some members wanted an empty back for a couple of recliners, Escape will not do that for structural reasons. What ever you do after taking possession is on your plate but I would ask before removing any component. If you can watch or observe construction in the "It's Friday" thread you can see how important the dinette bottoms are. Perhaps a "U" dinette area in the rear with a small bed in the front?
Oh, and welcome to our little fiberglass world.
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Old 03-06-2017, 03:17 PM   #3
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I can't speak to what exactly is under the curb side bench in a new 17A but (structural issues aside) your chances of removal are certainly better than the driver's side. The drivers side appears to have both the converter and hot water heater based on photos. Plus the batteries are on the bumper so they aren't an issue. My bet is this can be done, but I would approach ETI with it at build time because there is quite a bit of detailing that needs to be considered. One thing that comes to mind is the wall liner material going all the way to the floor with some type of trim where it meets the flooring. I can say that under the front dinette seats in our older 19 the fit and finish isn't that great. You have reflectix insulation on the sides and the vinyl flooring is peeling up a bit near the wall. There are channels along the perimeter of the fiberglass belly in the older models that needs to be contended with too (i.e. the floor is not flat right up to the wall). Not sure about the new molds and whether this condition would exist at the rear of the 17A. Good luck and let us know how this works out.
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Old 03-06-2017, 05:01 PM   #4
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Hi Glenn,
I too have a 17A and have been thinking about a more comfortable office space. I haven't done this yet but am thinking about putting in a 'slide' for where my table fastens to the rear just under the window. Slide the table over towards and over the drivers side bench seat. If the table was doubled in thickness and hinged towards the passenger side, then it could be unfolded to make into a larger office desk with a lot more 'real estate'. The rear side window on drivers side has an emergency exit built in with a really obnoxious opening handle that likes to stab the unwary in the back (eventually this window will get replaced with a slider).

I think the bench seat (curb) could be made more comfortable by using contour foam of adequate density on the bottom and similar for lumbar support on the back. Probably not as comfortable as your office chair though. Sometimes small space require small compromises.

Other 17A 'to be' mods include extending the counter top through the pantry and fasten to joint bed / pantry bulkhead. Above ... extend the upper cabinets to the bed/pantry joining bulkhead just like the countertop. Remove the center section of the pantry. I had talked to Rease about this at build time and he refused thinking that the roof needed more support. He is most likely right but many light weight boats cut back bulkheads and leave a tab perpendicular to the hull surface for frame like support .... in this case the tabbing would be about 2.5" - 3 inches wide. The storage space loss from cutting out the middle of the pantry can be mostly made up by not having the microwave and using that cabinet for galley storage.

I bought the little flip up counter extender. Its coming out too - never to return. In the 17 the table is so close I use it for more counter space. You need to remove the bench seat cushion to flip it up or down ... to me a real unnecessary PIA.

I also don't like the range hood. The fit and finish of Escape Trailers is pretty good but that range hood is a real piece of junk. I put lipstick on that pig by getting the Stainless model .... but its still a pig. If I was starting all over ... I'd specify one of those European models some have installed. If Reace wouldn't install it, I'd do it myself. Vent location through the skin is an issue..... I think or could be.

I also think my microwave is coming out. I like it OK but don't think I use it enough to justify the space. I have the 2 - 6 volt batteries with 150W solar roof top but find that the micro can pull the shine off my batteries pretty quickly. Might be a different story in a sunnier location.

Speaking about batteries ... at build time I was wrestling about putting twin 12 volt batteries instead of twin 6's. That way if I needed more power, I could add just one more 12 volt battery with a doable weight gain on the bumper for the increase in amperage and still have a 12 volt system. I haven't run the numbers for both weight and amperage. ... and so far my twin 6 volt batteries have worked well if I'm a little careful. Might be better to add more solar.

Even though it may not sound like it ... I'm very pleased with my 17A and with ETI too. As you read this forum, I'm not the only one who is in flux with his trailer ..... its part of the fun.

Tom

I liked looking at your Aliner. Looks like you made it into a very comfortable space.
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Old 03-06-2017, 10:35 PM   #5
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I love the way Sara made a fold down desk in her 17:
https://sarandipitytravels.com/2016/...ions-finished/

Kathie
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Old 03-06-2017, 10:57 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Dave&Kathie View Post
I love the way Sara made a fold down desk in her 17:
https://sarandipitytravels.com/2016/...ions-finished/

Kathie
I love the work done on Sarandipity, but the desk always worried me. Blocking the principle egress in a trailer can be dangerous. Now that pantry along the fridge wall is to die for.
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Old 03-06-2017, 11:23 PM   #7
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I also don't like the range hood. The fit and finish of Escape Trailers is pretty good but that range hood is a real piece of junk. I put lipstick on that pig by getting the Stainless model .... but its still a pig. If I was starting all over ... I'd specify one of those European models some have installed. If Reace wouldn't install it, I'd do it myself. Vent location through the skin is an issue..... I think or could be.
After considerable research I couldn't find a source for one of the nicer range hoods available overseas. If you haven't seen it I highly recommend the SAM-1 upgrade kit for the Ventline or Heng's hood. Many nice features. The 3-speed fan is powerful and quiet - the way these hoods should come stock. Bonus is it has a nice two level LED light.

FOP SAM-1 Range Hood Fan Upgrade Kit
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Old 03-07-2017, 12:58 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by rubicon327 View Post
After considerable research I couldn't find a source for one of the nicer range hoods available overseas. If you haven't seen it I highly recommend the SAM-1 upgrade kit for the Ventline or Heng's hood. Many nice features. The 3-speed fan is powerful and quiet - the way these hoods should come stock. Bonus is it has a nice two level LED light.

FOP SAM-1 Range Hood Fan Upgrade Kit
Hi Dave,
That Sam-1 is one of the ones that I was thinking about. Perhaps Robert has a finished installation picture. Running off my memory, I thought someone posted a couple range hood models of European origin (or Australian). I liked them because they had rounded corners, were thin vertically and didn't look like they would protrude out much from the base of the overhead cabinets thus saving my forhead. Thank you

Glenn,
Under the 17A curb side bench seat there is just my inverter. Also an exterior hatch that gives me access to some of my tool storage. The drivers side bench seat has the water heater, converter, surge protector and water pump. There is not a lot of room but I think there might be enough room to move my inverter over there too ..... maybe .... lots of stuff stuffed in there potentially making service frustrating... but freeing up the curb side bench for removal. Not recommending doing that however.

Maybe a "U" shaped dinette with your chair placed where the table should be facing aft toward the rear window .... with a wrap around table? The split level floor might be problematic though. I'm having fun thinking about this .... rather than working on my income tax. I'm human.

Tom
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Old 03-07-2017, 02:01 AM   #9
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Hi Tom,
I enjoyed reading your fascinating observations about your 17A. We 17A folks have to stick together! From my examination of the Owners' Map, doesn't look like there are very many of us!
From what you said Reace told you, sounds like my idea to substitute a base cabinet for the wardrobe may not fly.
Thanks for your other remarks too. I will refer back to them as I do my Build Sheet.

Glenn
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Old 03-07-2017, 02:26 AM   #10
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Tom,

If the passenger-side dinette bench can't be eliminated due to a need for structural integrity, perhaps a compromise could be a "skinny version" of it . . . Instead of a 22" deep bench (22" from wall to the facade of the bench), maybe a 9" - 12" "deep bench" that would be solely for support could be considered... not truly a bench to sit upon. The underlying wooden supports could still be there to strengthen the wall, the same paneling could be applied to the facade as would have been applied to the normal bench's facade, and a formica top could cap it (to match the kitchen countertop), which would make the "skinny bench" more of a long knee-high formica shelf with a little storage inside.

Based on my calculations, a 9" deep passenger-side rear "bench"(9" from wall to facade) would leave about 46" between benches for the office chair ... that would work, based on my measurements from my "office" area in the Aliner. That might be a possible Plan B. (Just thinking out loud here! )

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Old 03-07-2017, 05:47 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by StarvingHyena View Post
Hi Dave,
That Sam-1 is one of the ones that I was thinking about. Perhaps Robert has a finished installation picture.
Tom: post #5 of the thread has finished installation pics from Robert. It utilizes the stock hood so the profile doesn't change at all.

FOP SAM-1 Range Hood Fan Upgrade Kit

Not the best picture but there is also one here that I took when working on the backsplash:

Backsplash
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Old 03-07-2017, 09:28 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by StarvingHyena View Post
Maybe a "U" shaped dinette with your chair placed where the table should be facing aft toward the rear window .... with a wrap around table? The split level floor might be problematic though. I'm having fun thinking about this .... rather than working on my income tax. I'm human.
Glenn,
How about this...leave the dinette benches exactly as is. Place your chair at the back of the trailer facing forward. This will give you windows on each side and looking down the trailer for a more spacious feel. The table would mount with a Lagun pedestal to a reinforced drivers side dinette seat face. The stepped floor is no longer an issue as well. If the Lagun pedestal is placed strategically you would maintain full function of the dinette benches if you have company and you may even be able to swing the table up over the seat, raise it up in the mount and line it up with the galley as an extension of the counter top. This might also require the addition of a table slide to accomplish. You would need to figure out the exact table size that would work for your needs and the space available. The only potential disadvantage to this is converting to a bed could be more troublesome (requiring disassembly of the Lagun system), but that doesn't sound like an issue for you.



www.marineteak.co.uk/removable-pedestals-with-height-adjustment/lagun-adjustable-swivelling-cockpit-table-mounting-system-331
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Old 03-07-2017, 10:24 AM   #13
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You could always do the Scamp trick. Take the base off the office chair and mount it to the top of one of the dinette benches, then build out your desk over the other dinette bench. One could use the swivel on the office chair so it still rotates or fashion it to something like the Dicor Slide so the chair can go up or back and side to side.
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Old 03-07-2017, 11:26 AM   #14
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Talking 17A office mods

Glenn,
Caveat: our 17A is a 2015 model, but construction in the rear should be very similar.

I think your idea is very do-able. The passenger side bench has little or no structural value; there is nothing but a small amount of wiring within. Here's some build photos.


The table-attachment is a large glassed-in piece of plywood, so there are definite possibilities for attachment of an office-type desktop.

I also included a photo looking forward showing the kitchen counter/wardrobe area.

And yes, those of us with A models, are the "A Team".
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Old 03-07-2017, 03:53 PM   #15
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I'm encouraged by your post, Don! Keeping my fingers crossed.
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Old 03-07-2017, 05:13 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by StarvingHyena View Post
Hi Glenn,
...
Speaking about batteries ... at build time I was wrestling about putting twin 12 volt batteries instead of twin 6's. That way if I needed more power, I could add just one more 12 volt battery with a doable weight gain on the bumper for the increase in amperage and still have a 12 volt system. I haven't run the numbers for both weight and amperage. ... and so far my twin 6 volt batteries have worked well if I'm a little careful. Might be better to add more solar.
I'm one of the few that uses twin 12 batteries. They are hooked up permanently in parallel so for all practical purposes they are one battery. Prior to making this decision I investigated self-discharge parameters of various battery types and decided that AGM chemistry was the route to go. I confirmed this by measuring the charge that was being "circulated" between the two batteries, over a week period. At the end of the week I was loosing 5 milliamps from one battery into the other (0.005 amp). I can live with this easily since the loss can be replaced with about 10 minutes of solar.

In addition to having low self-discharge, conventional theory is that the batteries should be the same size, brand, and age. So, adding a third battery at a later date might be problematic. But if you're willing to do the measurements when you add the third battery you may prove conventional wisdom to be wrong (or right).

The main reason I chose twin 12v batteries was that 6v AGM batteries were (and perhaps still are) frightfully expensive. I was able to get some high quality marine batteries from Sears at a good price but they have since been discontinued. I also found AGM's to be gas and maintenance free so for me they are install and forget.

--
Alan
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