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Old 11-12-2012, 01:06 PM   #1
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Vashon Island (near Seattle), Washington
Trailer: 2013 Escape 15A "Traveling Sedge"
Posts: 44
Economical 15 A design

Hi Folks,

I am about to order a 15 ft plan A. I am trying to keep the price down and would like some of your sage advice on options.

I would prefer to keep the price to less than $21,000. I camp mostly in the NW and Rocky Mtn states. I appreciate an elec hook up but we do 75% dry camping. I am planning on towing with a Toyota Hylander V6 Hybrid and would like to keep the weight down as much as possible.

I spend as much time outside as possible and usually cook on a Coleman or grill.

Options that I have already decided on:
1) Ext access hatch - for convenient stowage of levelers, stabilizers, etc.
2) Hot H2O heater and outside shower option
3) Dual 6 V batteries as we can be dry camping for 10 days at a time. (would this suffice for this time with economical use of lights and heat)?

Is the Bike Rack Ready option simply a hitch to hold a bike rack? Will it suffice for other hitch purposes such as a hitch and haul?

Brake controller - I am assuming that I need one. Does this allow manual control of the trailer brakes from the vehicle? (stupid newbie question).

Equalizer switch? What is it?

Hitch wheel? What is it?

LED light pkg - is it worth the $200?

High lift axel - seems like most forum folks do not think it is necessary although I will be on some very rough roads.

Thanks in advance for any info. If I had the $, of course I would buy every convenience but am trying to save some money for travel. I hope that this will be my intro Escape and then upgrade when I am older and really need the cushy stuff.

- Jane

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Old 11-12-2012, 01:08 PM   #2
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Vashon Island (near Seattle), Washington
Trailer: 2013 Escape 15A "Traveling Sedge"
Posts: 44
Oops, forgot to add that I am including appx $1800 US licensing tax in my $21,000 limit.

thanks - Jane

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Old 11-12-2012, 01:15 PM   #3
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Led lighting saves huge amounts of battery power. Solar makes another big difference in duration of battery life. The storage box in front might make a big difference in your flexibility for bulky items. Many people swear by the extra insulation. In the NW that might be worth considering
Just my thoughts. I am still waiting for my trailer.....
Port Moody, BC
2012. Escape 19
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Old 11-12-2012, 01:52 PM   #4
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Location: North Vancouver, British Columbia
Trailer: 2009 Escape 17B - "Toad". '08 Toyota RAV4 V6
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Brake controller does allow you manually apply braking to the the trailer wheels only. However, your trailer brake lights will not come on. If the idea is to apply more braking to the trailer for descents ( gravel road ) you would be better off turning up the controller to do that.
I don't know what equalizer switch is. You may be referring to the break-away switch. That's a wire that connects from the trailer to the tow and if the trailer were to come off the hitch breaking the connection, the trailer brakes are applied.
Hitch wheel is a swiveling wheel that attaches to the hitch post so you can move the trailer without the tow vehicle. Works just fine on pavement, but of no use on dirt or gravel.
Better get the LED package rather than replacing the standard bulbs later ( like I did ). Huge difference in efficiency for dry camping.
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2008 Toyota RAV4 V6 Sport
North Vancouver, British Columbia

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Old 11-12-2012, 01:58 PM   #5
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Yes, the front box in lieu of an extra hatch hole for storage is more desirable. solar and extra insulation and dual pane windows. I'd drop the dual 6 volts and get one big 12v, with led's and the Atwood furnace 8012 your battery will last a long time. The single battery will also save you about 50# up front and with solar it is fully charged by mid morning. No equalizer needed for the smaller 15' trailer, brake controller you will need. The rear bike hitch will allow you to carry some gear on the back, I think up to 300 # . The hitch wheel would allow you to try to move the tongue, on a smooth surface, not needed. The led package would cut your battery drain to minimum, you can do it yourself for about $20/per light- you do the math.
The two most important days in your life are the day you were born and the day you find out why………..Mark Twain
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Old 11-12-2012, 02:42 PM   #6
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Location: Denison, Texas
Trailer: 2015 21'; 2011 19' sold; 4Runner; ph ninezero3 327-27ninefour
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Jane, I am guessing that they meant Equalizer hitch not switch. Equalizer is the name of a weight distributing hitch (WDH). I saw one guy on another forum who said he would never tow a tongue trailer without a WDH. Many do but it's a good safety device to have. A WDH transfers weight off of the rear of the tow vehicle, thereby helping to keep the front of the vehicle on the ground to avoid a loss-of-control catastrophe. Also transfers some weight back to the trailer. Some vehicles have much lower towing capacities without a WDH than with. Quite a few Escape owners have told me that they would not be without their WDH.

I would recommend a dual hot water heater (propane/electric).

The other thing I think you mentioned was leaving out the bath. That is the main reason many people buy a trailer so that will cut out many prospective buyers when you sell. Just a consideration.
Cathy. Floating Cloud
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Old 11-12-2012, 03:20 PM   #7
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The combination of solar, LED lighting and a pair of 6 volt batteries is a great combination for dry camping. With them, my only limitation of how long I can camp is water, both fresh & the waste tanks. I've stayed at 10,000' in the Leadville area (35°F nights) without hookups for 2 weeks this summer & never ran out of juice.
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Old 11-12-2012, 03:26 PM   #8
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Vashon Island (near Seattle), Washington
Trailer: 2013 Escape 15A "Traveling Sedge"
Posts: 44
My Highlander came with a tow package installed. I am also going to check with a reliable trailer shop to ensure that the tow pkg is installed. I am assuming (?) that if I have the appropriate tow pkg that I do not need the WDH?

I would love solar but just feel that I cannot afford it.
Is it possible to have it added later?

Cathy - I agree, the bath pkg would be nice for resale but then the 15' layout is totally changed. I really need the dual dinettes which would be elimiated with the indoor shower and/or toilet option.

thanks all for your help.
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Old 11-12-2012, 03:39 PM   #9
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Location: Denison, Texas
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Having a tow package has no connection to whether you use a WDH. A tow package in no way does what a WDH does.

You can always get portable solar panels later and look for a good deal. You could also have Escape wire it for a panel on the roof but not get the panel.

If you need two dinettes, then that's your "must-have.". Everyone has his or her must-haves!
Cathy. Floating Cloud
"Live in the sunshine, swim the sea, drink the wild air.... "
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Old 11-12-2012, 03:42 PM   #10
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Location: Brentwood Bay, British Columbia
Trailer: 2012 15-A
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Hi Jane, we bought our 15A at the end of August and love it. We tow with a 6 cylinder Nissan 4x4 so your vehicle will have no problem whatsoever towing it. You will not need a Weight distribution hitch. You will want the electric brake controller which allows you to control the trailer brakes from in the vehicle..... Good for steep grades!

We do lots of dry camping and went with the dual 6 volt batteries and the solar panel, again the dual 6's upon Reace's advice.. Well worth it in our mind. Couple this with the LED lights, you will have of power left for the furnance etc.

The bike rack option is just a receiver that the rack can go into. I don.'t think I would use it to tow anything but Tammy or Reace would be the best ones to answer that.

We plan to do lots of back country stuff so we opted to get the high lift axles and the 15 inch tires. No issues thus far.

We also got the twin 20 pound propane tanks, which gives us more flexibility to off the grid. We also like to cook outside, so we run a 20 foot hose direct off of these to the Coleman and the Weber.

The hitch wheel is a small swivel wheel that goes into the jack on the tongue so you can manhandle the trailer around in the driveway etc.

We did not go with the exterior hatch access due to possible leakage (west coast of BC) so we opted for the front tool box, which was well worth the money and gives you a place to store chalks, blocks, hoses, cables, tools, etc. We also did not go for the hot water heater, but this is an option that can be installled after the fact so we may look at this down the road.

We want to use it year round so we also went with the extra insulation and thermal windows.

One other option we went for was a 26 gallon grey water tank, which Reace suggested we put in. Again,great for boondocking and no mess left behind!

Anyway, hope this helps. If anything, go solar and LED. Any questions, give me a shout.



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