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Old 09-12-2011, 05:52 PM   #1
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Post Reace checkin -- questions about 17B mods

Hey all,

We had a great phone call with Reace last week, which only confirmed that we're making the right choice with Escape -- he was wonderfully detailed, thorough, thoughtful, and patient. Here are a few things that came up during the call that we wanted to ask opinions on:

* Did any of you add exterior lights on the trailer? Are these useful in setup and take down? Right now we have added one light on the kitchen side of the trailer and are wondering if we should add on front and back. Also wondering if we should go incandescent on these -- we plan to do alot of off grid camping, but I don't know if the LED is really strong enough for the outside.

* We preferenced the "yellow" LEDS to the "blue" ones, mainly because we both HATE the glare of a florescent, and Reace indicated the yellow is gentler. We are aware that these aren't as efficient, though. We plan to have solar and Reace was thinking yellow would be ok. You guys second the master's opinion in your experiences?

* Hitch wheel. A good idea, just in case?

* Starter kit, ditto?

* Does anyone have a small Dustbuster unit mounted inside their Escape, and if so, where? (Trying to anticipate things like hooks, etc, we may have Reace put some of this stuff up for us so it's properly reinforced)

* Does anyone see the need to have the electric option on the hot water heater if we're probably off grid 80% of the time?

* Shelves versus cabinet doors on the overhead storage ... nay? yay? How do y'all use these "shelf" spaces?

* Did anyone just skip the audio system altogether and BYO unit? If so -- any regrets?

* We talked to Reace about the option to spray insulation/install heating pads under the Escape for cold weather conditions, and he reminded us that the pads would only be useful when we were plugged in ... so a minus in our case. But the insulation might help a little. We can see ourselves camping in the Boundary Waters in early Oct when temps can easily dip into the mid to upper 20s. In all but the rarest situations though the temp would rebound during the day. Is it worth $750 for this??

* Backsplash around stove -- yay, nay?

* Exterior 12V plug? Useful? Yay, nay? (Actually, I can't even remember now if this is an option

Thanks for all your help, folks. FYI, we are traveling right now with spotty e-connections, so while I hope to see your responses as they come in I may not be online again until the weekend, not sure ... blame it on the weather in Kodiak, Alaska

~e

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Old 09-12-2011, 07:00 PM   #2
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Re: Post Reace checkin -- questions about 17B mods

My thoughts.

I added the exterior lights, and to be honest have only used the front one a couple of times.

I don't have LED's yet, so can't commetn

I do have a hitch wheel and only used it once, on my first night with the trailer. Still, it would be handy if you were in a spot you did need it.

I bought the starter kit, though you really don't need it if you pick up what you need yourself. It is nice to know you have these things when picking up the trailer though.

We have a 12V vacuum that we just keep stored. I plugs into the cigarette lighter and works quite well. It is out of the way the rest of the time.

I have the electric option with the water heater, and would highly recommend it. I am off the grid for most of my camping too, but when I do have hook-ups it is nice to have. I heat it up at home before heading out sometimes too.

Not really sure what you are asking, but you do need doors to keep things in place during traveling. We put some wire shelves inside, and I plan to do a couple organizers with 1/8" ply.

I bought the audio system they were offering, and it works very good. In hind sight I would have just had them run a few wires and put one in myself probably.

I never realized the pads were 120V, I thought they were 12V. Though I imagine at 12V they could drain the battery fast. If you are not likely near a 120V service very often, it might not be worth it then, but if you were............

Absolutely a backsplash around the stove, I would definitely want something tougher than the vinyl cover on the insulation.

I really see no need for an exterior 12V plug, but if needed you could maybe mount it just inside a hatch cover.
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Old 09-12-2011, 09:48 PM   #3
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Re: Post Reace checkin -- questions about 17B mods

I did a LED conversion on my own after delivery. Can you change a light bulb? Its that easy. I went with LEDS from www.superbrightleds.com. The big difference is they are LED SMD, this is different from what I see Escape using. I believe Escape is using a traditional LED bulb, or an array of 16 bulbs. I find these adaquate for reading in bed. I saw recently where someone speced two lights over the bed. His and Hers.

With my method you can order 2 or 3 and try them out before ordering the rest.

I have a Hitch wheel. Never used it. These trailers are a little too heavy to wheel around. You would need a concrete floor and two people minimum.

Starter kit is nice but I opted to bring my own toilet paper.
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Old 09-12-2011, 09:49 PM   #4
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Re: Post Reace checkin -- questions about 17B mods

Wow E that is one heck of a list!

We only have the exterior light by the door (it is LED and puts out plenty of light for us). We have a battery powered Coleman lantern that we move around to where we need it outside.

Our LED's are whichever Tammy ordered for us last year not sure which is the "regular" ones.

No hitch wheel - we have the flat foot one as it is easier to put blocks under and doesn't dig into soft ground.

Starter kit is probably a good idea since you haven't had a trailer before - we had all the "stuff" already from our Scamp.

No Dustbuster - only a broom and dust pan.

Backsplash - do you mean the "regular" one or the stainless steel? SS is VERY expensive option.

We skipped the audio and went with a pretty good quality dock for our iPod. It also has a radio built in. Sound is amazingly excellent.

Spray foam might be nice in cold weather. BUT the water in the tanks will usually not freeze unless the weather is quite cold - too much mass. Exposed pipes are the most like to freeze. Maybe Rease can insulate any exposed pipes for you? I can't recall which ones are exposed underneath. I have thought of putting the neoprene pipe wrap on ours.

Not sure why you would need an exterior 12V, but the exterior 120v is great for charging a computer while sitting outside and may other tasks.

Have fun!

Eric
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Old 09-12-2011, 10:54 PM   #5
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Re: Post Reace checkin -- questions about 17B mods


Hey all,

We had a great phone call with Reace last week, which only confirmed that we're making the right choice with Escape -- he was wonderfully detailed, thorough, thoughtful, and patient. Here are a few things that came up during the call that we wanted to ask opinions on:

* Did any of you add exterior lights on the trailer? Are these useful in setup and take down? Right now we have added one light on the kitchen side of the trailer and are wondering if we should add on front and back. Also wondering if we should go incandescent on these -- we plan to do alot of off grid camping, but I don't know if the LED is really strong enough for the outside.

I didn't have Rease add any additional outside lights but I did add a 12' string of White LEDs just below where the awning attaches to the trailer. Provides a fairly bright, soft light. I also exchanged the incandescent in the standard outside light for a pair of 15 lamp LEDs. Brighter than the old incandescent...

* We preferenced the "yellow" LEDS to the "blue" ones, mainly because we both HATE the glare of a florescent, and Reace indicated the yellow is gentler. We are aware that these aren't as efficient, though. We plan to have solar and Reace was thinking yellow would be ok. You guys second the master's opinion in your experiences?

I have all LED lighting & Solar. They are warmer than a white LED, but cooler than incandescent. I have no problems with them and spend a fair amount of time reading with them.


* Hitch wheel. A good idea, just in case?

I didn't order the hitch wheel. Most of the places I wish I had it, the ground was probably too soft to use it.

* Starter kit, ditto?

I ordered it & found it useful. I'll probably replace the chocks with something more solid - I have cracked the sides kicking them out when packing up...

* Does anyone have a small Dustbuster unit mounted inside their Escape, and if so, where? (Trying to anticipate things like hooks, etc, we may have Reace put some of this stuff up for us so it's properly reinforced)

I have a small Dustbuster, but keep it in the back of the RAV4 rather than trying to hang it somewhere.

* Does anyone see the need to have the electric option on the hot water heater if we're probably off grid 80% of the time?

I have the electric option & find it useful when hooked up. I'm hooked up more than your 20% so it works for me, but may not be worth it for you...

* Shelves versus cabinet doors on the overhead storage ... nay? yay? How do y'all use these "shelf" spaces?

I'd hate to see how much of the contents would be on the floor if the overhead cabinets didn't have doors. Even with doors, read about my experience with the Olive Oil!

* Did anyone just skip the audio system altogether and BYO unit? If so -- any regrets?

I skipped it & use a SONY iPod dock that has an FM radio built in as well as an AUX input that I sometimes use with a XM Radio receiver.

* We talked to Reace about the option to spray insulation/install heating pads under the Escape for cold weather conditions, and he reminded us that the pads would only be useful when we were plugged in ... so a minus in our case. But the insulation might help a little. We can see ourselves camping in the Boundary Waters in early Oct when temps can easily dip into the mid to upper 20s. In all but the rarest situations though the temp would rebound during the day. Is it worth $750 for this??

Can't help here. I have the dual pane windows & extra insulation, but not the bottom foam or heating pads. I was not ever cold even down to 23°F overnight, but it was only overnight.

* Backsplash around stove -- yay, nay?

I don't have it & don't miss it. Except for making coffee, I do 95% of my cooking outside.

* Exterior 12V plug? Useful? Yay, nay? (Actually, I can't even remember now if this is an option

I don't think I'd use it. I have 3 inside, 1 dedicated to my router & 2 for general use. The general use ones are near the floor on the front & rear dinette seats. After spending some time with them I'll probably add 2 more that are higher up & easier to reach. I use them for a small inverter (mostly used to grind coffee beans) & to power either my laptop or iPod dock.

Thanks for all your help, folks. FYI, we are traveling right now with spotty e-connections, so while I hope to see your responses as they come in I may not be online again until the weekend, not sure ... blame it on the weather in Kodiak, Alaska

~e


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Old 09-13-2011, 08:38 AM   #6
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Re: Post Reace checkin -- questions about 17B mods

E,

I forgot to mention that we have the dual fuel water heater. We use it whenever we are somewhere with electric hookups - admittedly not that often. But it is nice to use while traveling if we are staying in RV parks along the highway since they are charging you for electric anyway. It does help save LP that way, but probably never enough to actually make up for the initial cost.

Eric
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Old 09-13-2011, 01:26 PM   #7
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Re: Post Reace checkin -- questions about 17B mods

Backsplash for stove: if you have the stove cover, it flips up and protects the back wall. I don't need anything more. Actually, I've thought of removing the stove cover and just using a large Epicurean cutting board on top of the burners.

Exterior lights: I just have the light at the door. I tried a yellow/orange LED in it and couldn't see anything ( other than the light itself ) so I switched back to standard light.

Installed sound system: I didn't opt for it. I use my Sirius dock and my Altec-Lansing iPod dock. At some point I may get an iPad.

Hitch wheel: I've used it once, with difficulty. Still carry it for some reason.

I almost had an exterior 12V installed. ( it's a special weather-proof install ). Instead, I run a 12V lighter cord extension out the door. You can get in various lengths from The Source, Radio Shack.

I've been switching to warm LEDs a couple at a time and using them where I use the most light. One each side of the table and a couple over the bed. I'll get around to the rest over time.

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Old 09-14-2011, 12:07 PM   #8
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Re: Post Reace checkin -- questions about 17B mods

I use a 12V exterior plug to run the thermoelectric ice chest where we keep drinks, some vegies and fruits. With the four of us, this helps a lot when we are out for more than 1 or 2 nights.
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