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Old 05-02-2012, 11:03 PM   #1
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Soon-to-be Escapee

My wife Cindy and I put a deposit on a 19' Escape this week and are counting down the days until it is available in June.

I am calling it our "Escape Pad". We'll see if the name sticks - my wife will either need to come up with a better name or stop rolling her eyes!

We came across Escape less than 2 weeks ago and have been immersing ourselves in the forum every day since. After seeing a 19' trailer a few hours from us we were hooked. Thanks Bill and Val!

We are in the process of finalizing our options in the next few weeks, and will be posting questions - especially about modifications - as soon as we get through what already exists. This is our first trailer, so everything is new to us. The posts have really helped to get a sense of our options and what we need to think about.

Having plunked down a deposit, it seemed like we should take a break from reading, officially join the forum, and say "hi".

David
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Old 05-02-2012, 11:09 PM   #2
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Re: Soon-to-be Escapee

Welcome, David. You can rest assured you made yourselves a wonderful decision there.
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Old 05-03-2012, 12:52 AM   #3
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Re: Soon-to-be Escapee

You're going to have a great time.. hope you find the forum a great source of information.. enjoy
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Old 05-03-2012, 01:58 AM   #4
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Re: Soon-to-be Escapee

Thanks for the welcome. After looking at several different brands of trailers and reviewing feature sets, layouts, and quality - we are pretty sure we will be very happy with our choice.

Not having owned a trailer before, the hard part is trying to get a sense of how we will use it - what options will become important to us down the road.

Right now, we are applying "if in doubt, get it" as a general rule of thumb. For example, we are going with the thermal windows and extra insulation. We are also considering the spray underside insulation to keep us cozy and using the trailer over a longer season. Opting for LED bulbs over incandescent also appears to be a practical choice.

Other options are harder to for us to evaluate. For example, how useful are solar panels to users who would spend about half their stays connected to shore power? For 1 night off the grid vs. a long weekend?

We think we will spend roughly half of our time connected to power, half without, with average spans of 2-3 days at a time at any one destination. We do not want to use a noisy generator as we can forego A/C when we want get away from it all. Does some sort of solar option become necessary for the basics - just to keep the lights on, furnace blowing, and fridge cool? We wish to avoid strict rationing of power.

What are the "most have" options that people would recommend for a family of 4 and a mixed camping style, e.g. nothing extreme?

I am interested in how others use their Escapes and when the need for options such as solar really kick in.

David
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Old 05-03-2012, 05:29 AM   #5
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Re: Soon-to-be Escapee

Hi: David R...WELCOME to the Fiberglass Flu. It's really more of an Addiction!!!
Our list of "must haves" would include a dual fuel hot water heater. Use the electric when plugged to the current bush, and your propane when off the grid. I would certainly get solar panels vs. a generator too. Power requirements are in direct proportion to the personal entertainment devices carried. Even a campfire will only entertain for so long!!!
I tend to look at the fact that some options are best added while the trailer is being built...usually the major ones. Alf
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Old 05-03-2012, 08:08 AM   #6
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Re: Soon-to-be Escapee

Welcome! As to options, I too ordered just about every one of them. I found combination of the solar panel, dual 6V batteries & LED lighting lets me stay unplugged for at least 4 days. Probably could have gone more, but that's the longest I've stayed in one place.
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Old 05-03-2012, 09:15 AM   #7
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Re: Soon-to-be Escapee

You should consider the exterior storage box, very useful. And dual 6-volt batteries.

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Old 05-03-2012, 09:57 AM   #8
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Re: Soon-to-be Escapee

Thanks for the suggestions. We are adding the dual 6V batteries. We will need to recharge laptops and cell phones, power a portable music player for our iPod, and occasionally use a toaster. No TV or microwave, or other appliances (unless we read of something really useful).

Right now, options such as solar, dual water heater, storage box are on the bubble.

We are trying to keep a mindset of traveling as light as practical, while not having to severely limit our options of where we stay and how we use the trailer on long weekends.

For those without solar, how many nights can you go without needing to plug in - just one? Is it on your list of next upgrades, or is it not missed?

Same question for those without the storage bin. Are you able to make due with the rear passenger-side storage compartment, or would you gladly pay $700 for a storage box to hold your hoses, leveling boards, and camp equipment?

David
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Old 05-03-2012, 10:41 AM   #9
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Re: Soon-to-be Escapee

David, with the dual 6V batteries, you will be good to boondock for at least 4 nights. If you ever needed you could add solar later. I mostly boondock, and have had the thought of solar in the back of my mind for 3 years, yet have not had the need for it. I don't have LED lighting yet either.

I have also had in the back of my mind the option to buy a 1kW gen set for topping up batteries, as these are very quiet units. I really have had no need for it.

Some of this will depend on your intended usage too. Regardless of weather, we are rarely in our trailer from 8AM to 8PM, mostly cooking and hanging out in the living room if we are around the trailer during this time. (I just realized how much definition is lent to the term 'living room' when it is in the great outdoors)

Ditto on the dual fuel water heater, and the insulation and thermal windows. Both good choices. The extra insulation will keep the heater running way less, which is one of the biggest battery loads, plus they are not all that quiet either.

JON, with the solar panels, and the dual 6V, would you not be able to go almost indefinitely? I know you say you use an inverter probably more than the norm. How much of your load do you think goes through the inverter?

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Old 05-03-2012, 01:10 PM   #10
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Re: Soon-to-be Escapee

Hi David

A lot of what you need in a trailer is relevant to your camping style. If you come from a background of tenting and move up to a trailer then just having lights and a hard shell is pure luxury and you'd probably hardly use the battery. But for you, never having a trailer before, you will find you will have to adjust and economize somewhat compared to being at home and might find that you use the batteries more than expected when boondocking.

We just moved up to a new Escape having had an older one for the last three years. We went with the dual 6v batteries, solar panel, thermal windows with extra insulation and LED lights. Our old trailer had just a single 12v battery, single pane windows and no solar. We found that when camping in the shoulder season we were having to top up our battery every second day with our generator. Having the solar for us is pure joy as one never really has to think about power and the generator can be left at home. I think whether or not you need solar depends on how much you use the trailer facilities. You mentioned that there was 4 of you so I'm assuming there is 2 kids evolved. Depending on age you may be hosing them off with the outside shower (excellent option if you have kids or dogs that need to be hosed off from time to time), having to entertain them on rainy days ect. and when you start using the pump, inverters and the like the battery runs down pretty quickly. If you were just using the lights at night and the pump the odd time then you would have no use for solar with dual 6v. You also mentioned in one post that you would like to use a toaster via batteries. For this you would have to use a very large inverter and this draw would run your batteries down big time. You'd be better off getting one of the toasters that work on a camp stove, they work great and are less than $10. Also one thing to remember is that when the trailer is in tow the vehicle is charging the battery as you drive.

If you still are unsure about solar then you could also have the trailer prewired for solar and add it at a later date if you find that you need it. The panels are always coming down in price as technology improves.

I note that you are from Oregon. You guys are spoiled with your excellent state parks and facilities and you may find as you travel further afield that the best campsites have no hookups and you end up using your batteries more and more. I know here in BC 99.9% of our provincial camp sites have no hookups but they sure are in some beautiful areas!

One thing for sure, as others have said, you'll love your trailer and you made the right choice with Escape. Reace, Tammy and the staff at Escape will look after you not only during the ordering and delivery process but well into the future. Like I said we're on our second one and loving it.

Good luck with your decisions.

Barry

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Old 05-03-2012, 01:47 PM   #11
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Re: Soon-to-be Escapee

Hi David,

Welcome to this forum and to the fiberglass family. Forget the square footage vs money. What your buying is a great trailer built by Escape Trailer Industries. You will find Tammy and Rease accomodating and most helpful with your build. But most of all your getting a large fiberglass RV family if you so choose..to provide friendship and helpful advise as you enjoy your new RV. I suggest keeping things light and simple. Have the trailer built to fit your basic needs now. As first trailer owners refrain from purchasing every RV gadget that crosses your path. Unused storage is a good thing. Most of all... enjoy your beautiful state of Oregon and the Pacific Northwest. See you out there.

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Old 05-03-2012, 02:33 PM   #12
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Re: Soon-to-be Escapee

I do have the storage box on my 17B and find it useful, although it is a bit difficult to keep the tongue weight under the 350 lb limit on my RAV4.

As to running indefinitely, it would not be a problem with normal use, ie the furnace, LED lights, fan, etc but I also have a cell phone amplifier & router that draw around 2 amps 24/7 unless I don't have a cell signal, a 17" MacBookPro that draws close to 9 amps if I'm using it & the battery is down that I use 3-4 hours per day, and a iPhone dock that draws 3-4 amps @12V I run for a couple of hours per day. All in all, if I'm in the sun I'm usually back up to 100% by the middle of the day, but if camping in the shade I tend to draw out more than the system puts back in. The last time I stayed in the shade I was down to 85% by the end of the 4th day. (That was without the coffee pot described below).

I also have a 1000W sine wave inverter & have to watch how long I use it. I have a 600 watt coffee pot I use to make one mug of coffee a day. As long as I remember to shut it off once the coffee is brewed I'm usually back up to 100% by noon, but if I forget it can pull down the batteries real fast (it draws 60 amps @12V while powering the coffee pot).

Even though the time a toaster is on is fairly short, they draw quite a bit of power - not unusual to be 1200W or so. You will need a fairly large inverter to deal with that - I'd rather plan to toast when plugged or use one of the gas powered alternatives.

I don't carry a generator, and while I there were a few times it was hot enough to want to run the AC, if it was that hot I opted for a campground with utilities.
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Old 05-03-2012, 09:01 PM   #13
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Re: Soon-to-be Escapee

I suggest ... the front storage box and a 2000i Honda and your troubles will be over. the gen will power lots, charge anything. It's portable and can be serviced during the off season.And with a gallon of gas you can rough it for a week at 7 hrs per 4.5 liters rain or shine. And you can use it at home puts out 13.5 amp max.$1800.00 on sale - $1200.00 reg CAD. And you can use a electric chain saw for fire wood vs gas. It's a Win..Win...

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Old 05-03-2012, 09:18 PM   #14
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Re: Soon-to-be Escapee

I think what one has to ask is what do you need electricity for, and is there an alternative to get you the same result.

Things like toasters, coffee makers, frying pans, kettles, crock pots, and almost any kitchen appliance short of a microwave, have a non-electric alternative that works quite well. Not only do you reduce your weight, you also reduce your reliance on electricity. And even with microwaves, it is real easy to get by without one.

Like David C. said, keep things light and simple. For those not used to camping, it is understandable that your reaction would be to bring all the luxuries of home, or at least many of them. One of the main ideas behind the design of the Escape trailer was to make it light, and you defeat this if loading it right back up with more weight.

Remember, your memories come not from what you bring with you, but from what you take back home.

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Old 05-03-2012, 10:03 PM   #15
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Re: Soon-to-be Escapee

Welcome, David!

You might want to consider portable solar panels. I can't say how well they work as we do not have them yet but that's the plan. You can get them in 40W, for instance, put them in the tow vehicle to keep the weight out of the trailer, and not have any holes in the Escape roof. So that is what we are considering, just having bought our Escape. Can get two 40Ws or whatever. Zamp has portables.

The spray underneath is a great option that I wish we had. That said, you might want to consider that it is another 70-90 lbs.

People love the box. I have heard that there is trouble accessing batteries in other trailers. Batteries in the front box are easy to access so that is one big advantage. If you decide against the box, I understand that you can have a hatch put in at the front driver's side.

One thing I am already sooo glad we have and would not be without is the dual water heater.

Have fun!

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Old 05-03-2012, 10:50 PM   #16
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Re: Soon-to-be Escapee

Thanks for sharing your experiences.

I am sensing a lot of love for the dual water heater. From a cost perspective, not sure it would pay for itself. Or is it the fact that you don't need to always plan 10 minutes ahead for when you need hot water, or need to refill you propane tanks as often when connected to shore power? Let me know what I am missing here.

We definitely want to keep things as light, simple, and quiet as we can. That said, we have a couple of young kids and as Barry pointed out we will also need to get through the occasional rainy day with our sanity intact.

Jim, I am encouraged that is possible to run for as many as 4 days w/o recharging. We may not be able to squeeze out as much, but it is good to know what is possible. Agree that non-electric alternatives are the way to go whenever possible. Already rethinking the toaster.

Portable electronics, however, are things that we would have a harder time going without in the evening on extended trips. I would think we could use a couple of 12v to 20v converters. Or is it just easier to go with a decent inverter?

Jon, I am interested in learning more about your inverter. How do you have it wired to the battery and to devices? Assuming is stand-alone and not somehow connected inline to your AC electrical system, are you able to "jumper" it to an electrical outlet to power all of your outlets when not connected to shore power?
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Old 05-03-2012, 11:58 PM   #17
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Re: Soon-to-be Escapee

Welcome David. Order the additional tail lights on both sides of the rear window. I ordered the solar system which works very well a good addition. The front box is another useful item to have. My 19ft is a 2010 we got in November. Last year we slept in it 44 nights. You will really like the trailer and the way it pulls.
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Old 05-04-2012, 07:48 AM   #18
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Re: Soon-to-be Escapee

There was no storage box option when I got my trailer, and the dual 6V batteries are under the dinette seat, towards the front of the trailer. They are easy enough to access for the once or twice a year you need to, and in the future if I was to ever add the storage box, it would leave the space in the box for things that get used outdoors.
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Old 05-04-2012, 07:51 AM   #19
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Re: Soon-to-be Escapee

Hi David and welcome to the world of Escapes! We just got our 19 and really like it so far. We did not get the dual power water heater. We had one in our Casita and never used the electric side. Personally I do not think that is uses that much propane. In the morning when I get up I hit the switch to ignite the WH and 10 minutes later I am ready to go. I guess the key to using the WH is to turn it on and off only when needed. Propane only works just fine for us.

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Old 05-04-2012, 09:22 AM   #20
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Re: Soon-to-be Escapee

I didn't order the trailer with the inverter (although I believe Reace has done trailers with installed inverters - you might give them a call.) I added it afterwards, so the original battery to converter wiring installed by Escape was #10. Xantrex recommends #0 wire & a run less than 6' in their owner's manual (a PDF of the manual is available at their website). While my run was a bit longer, I don't ever use the inverter at full power, so I went with #0 wire.

While welding cable would have been less expensive, I purchased pre made cables with lengths, colors & terminations to my specifications from GenuinedealZ. They sell Boat Cable, which is very flexible. I also added a 150 Amp fuse & a 200 amp switch even though the ProWatt SW inverter manual states there is no input current draw when the inverter is off. Even with the fuse, I want to be able to shut off the connection between the batteries & inverter.

I eliminated the #10 wiring to the batteries & connected the converter & solar controller to the in trailer ends of the #0 wiring from the batteries before the 200 amp switch. Since the #0 wiring simply replaces the #10, the solar system still keeps the batteries charged even with both the 200 amp & the Escape installed switches off.

The inverter is in the under seat area where converter & water heater are located. Rather than adding a transfer switch for an already existing receptacle (which is available fairly inexpensively from Xantrex) I opted for a separate outlet I mounted in the sink wall above the rear bed (again, this is on a 17B). While I "could" make a dead man jumper to go between the dedicated inverter receptacle & the Escape installed receptacle 6" away, as an electrician I'm very much opposed to that type of wiring. If I wanted to power the entire trailer I'd add a transfer switch. You would still have to deal with shutting off the converter to prevent a loop, and the water heater (if you have the electric option) AC, etc to prevent overloading the inverter - a dedicated receptacle makes more sense in my situation.

Overall, it works well since my main use for the inverter is to brew a pot of coffee when I'm not hooked to shore power. I already have 12V to "what ever" power supplies for most of my portable equipment & camera battery chargers so I don't really use the inverter for much else other than occasionally charging a portable drill. I split dry camping with campgrounds with at least AC fairly evenly, so I generally have AC to run chargers.
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