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Old 11-19-2019, 06:43 AM   #41
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Based upon that video I doubt you could find a proper tow vehicle suitable for on road everyday use......
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Old 11-19-2019, 07:11 AM   #42
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Interesting thread to read. After reading this I would think your current tow vehicle is where your limits will be, and Opus would go places your current tow vehicle would not. I also think though towing an Escape and or Casita with a CX9 is not going to be a pleasant experience. Would it do it? Probably but pretty sure you would not want to do it for long.
If the CX9 is your tow vehicle for that reason alone I would eliminate the fiberglass trailers.
M humble opinion.

Enjoy the journey.

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Old 11-19-2019, 07:15 AM   #43
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The Somerset looks like a nice trailer and would be my choice . We owned a 17 ft fiberglass trailer , good for 2 adults sometimes.
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Old 11-19-2019, 07:57 AM   #44
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No doubt you realize for the most part you will get the opinion here that Escape is the best bet for you, as this is what most people here have already decided for yourself. Lots of good people here though willing to offer honest opinion on any trailer too.

Like Ross eluded to, and especially if buying new, I have always suggested the best route is to find the trailer that works best for you, and try to figure on what you want or need for many years to come. Then figure out the tow vehicle. A moulded fibreglass trailer will last as long as many tow vehicles.

If buying a new tow vehicle is not possible right now too, I would be looking at a used trailer that your current vehicle would tow. Tent trailers are a great unit for keeping weight down yet giving you lots of bed space. I owned a Coleman for 10 years, my brothers owned one for about 20years and now own, or have on order, and Escape 19. There are certainly disadvantages like not staying heated as well. Tearing down in the rain is a bit of an issue, but considering it is much less than 10% of the time something that can be dealt with. A tent trailer offers huge beds, easily sleep 4 large people.

Using a used trailer for a while will do a few things, like save you some money now and let you figure out exactly what would work better in a trailer for your personal use. As well, it will not likely be too many years before the kids either don't come along, or if they do want to sleep in a tent away from the parents.

I thought the 19 would be our forever trailer when we bought it, as our kids were now adults and very rarely sleeping with us, but it was a new model and the biggest Escape had at the time. The 21 never really appealed to us due to the layout (though does for many happy customers), and when the 5.0TA came out we had a big liking for it ultimately going for it. Still not sure if it will be our last trailer, but certainly will be for many years to come as the size is the biggest we would want for lots of travel in North America.
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Old 11-19-2019, 08:43 AM   #45
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This is what Escape currently recommends. I know some may disagree but personally I wouldn’t tow any of the current Escape models with anything less than an SUV with a 5000# tow rating. Maybe a stripped down 17A. If I was limited to a 3500# tow capacity I would only consider a used Escape 13, 15, gen1 17A or a gen1 17B. Only adding the gen1 17B to the list because I know Vermilye previously had done it and gbaglo currently does it with a V6 RAV4 and I trust their judgement.
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Old 11-19-2019, 09:15 AM   #46
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No doubt you realize for the most part you will get the opinion here that Escape is the best bet for you, as this is what most people here have already decided for yourself.
Actually quite the contrary, almost everyone here is trying to dissuade me from even considering an Escape with my current vehicle. This is made a little confusing / frustrating as two of the posters to this thread have said they towed or currently tow a 17b using a RAV4 (especially depending on model year), with significantly lower HP and torque (especially at the bottom), arguably less robust suspension and intelligent AWD, than the modern CX-9.

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This is what Escape currently recommends.
Definitely food for thought! Hard to argue when the company itself says, “Don’t give us money.” Adds to above confusion, again keeping in mind that the CX-9 is comfortably rated to carry this load on other continents. Gravity must work different here.

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I thought the 19 would be our forever trailer when we bought it, as our kids were now adults and very rarely sleeping with us, but it was a new model and the biggest Escape had at the time. The 21 never really appealed to us due to the layout (though does for many happy customers), and when the 5.0TA came out we had a big liking for it ultimately going for it. Still not sure if it will be our last trailer, but certainly will be for many years to come as the size is the biggest we would want for lots of travel in North America.
My wife reminds me that when we retire our tow vehicle will almost certainly be a Leisure Travel Class B (they are apparently calling them C now) or something and our travel trailer will be a Miata. This purchase is intended to get us through the next 8-10 sons at home years.
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Old 11-19-2019, 09:54 AM   #47
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Originally Posted by navajas View Post
Actually quite the contrary, almost everyone here is trying to dissuade me from even considering an Escape with my current vehicle. This is made a little confusing / frustrating as two of the posters to this thread have said they towed or currently tow a 17b using a RAV4 (especially depending on model year), with significantly lower HP and torque (especially at the bottom), arguably less robust suspension and intelligent AWD, than the modern CX-9.



Definitely food for thought! Hard to argue when the company itself says, “Don’t give us money.” Adds to above confusion, again keeping in mind that the CX-9 is comfortably rated to carry this load on other continents. Gravity must work different here.



My wife reminds me that when we retire our tow vehicle will almost certainly be a Leisure Travel Class B (they are apparently calling them C now) or something and our travel trailer will be a Miata. This purchase is intended to get us through the next 8-10 sons at home years.
Both Glenn & I tow or towed with a V6 RAV4 Sport, rated at 269HP & 246 ft lbs of torque. While the latest RAV4 4 cylinder is also rated at 3500/350, that is not the same engine, and I have no experience with it.

I also do not have any experience with the Mazda CX-9, but looking at the specifications, I suspect a generation 1 Escape 17B carefully loaded & using a WDH would be a good match, although not for the conservative haulers.

The second generations Escapes are heavier, so keeping the tongue weight under 350 pounds might be a problem. You would need to watch your tongue weight, and may find the 19 gallon fuel tank size requires frequent stops when towing. I know that was the major fault I found with the RAV4's 16 gallon tank.

The differences between European & US/Canada tow ratings has been discussed many times, with no accepted conclusions as to why, but to my mind road conditions, speed limits, and larger US freight trucks are possible reasons to accept the US/Canadian limits. Passing a 53' Semi coming from the opposite direction on a 2 lane road at 75MPH (Texas limits for example).
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Old 11-19-2019, 10:24 AM   #48
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Both Glenn & I tow or towed with a V6 RAV4 Sport, rated at 269HP & 246 ft lbs of torque. While the latest RAV4 4 cylinder is also rated at 3500/350, that is not the same engine, and I have no experience with it.
Thanks for that. The CX-9 is right there with HP then, 270, but 300lbs of torque at 2000rpm. Didn’t realize you were both talking about earlier model 17s though. Do you know off hand the weight differences?

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The differences between European & US/Canada tow ratings has been discussed many times, with no accepted conclusions as to why, but to my mind road conditions, speed limits, and larger US freight trucks are possible reasons to accept the US/Canadian limits. Passing a 53' Semi coming from the opposite direction on a 2 lane road at 75MPH (Texas limits for example).
I wonder. It’s 4400lbs in Australia for example. Was wondering if they just trust Australians more to tow since it appears every vehicle on every road in every city is towing something every day! Obviously less rain... but we get no more than many places in Europe. Yeah, speed limit. Hmm...
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Old 11-19-2019, 11:56 AM   #49
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I wonder. It’s 4400lbs in Australia for example. Was wondering if they just trust Australians more to tow since it appears every vehicle on every road in every city is towing something every day! Obviously less rain... but we get no more than many places in Europe. Yeah, speed limit. Hmm...
Most people participating here probably don't want to see another round of discussion of the rating used on other continents, but in summary there are many differences in conditions which lead to different ratings, with tongue weight and speed being the most noticeable, but not the only ones. I don't think that it is reasonable to apply the ratings of somewhere else to trailers following North American design practices, towed at our typical speeds by our typical drivers.
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Old 11-19-2019, 11:56 AM   #50
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Originally Posted by Vermilye View Post
The differences between European & US/Canada tow ratings has been discussed many times, with no accepted conclusions as to why, but to my mind road conditions, speed limits, and larger US freight trucks are possible reasons to accept the US/Canadian limits. Passing a 53' Semi coming from the opposite direction on a 2 lane road at 75MPH (Texas limits for example).
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I wonder. It’s 4400lbs in Australia for example. Was wondering if they just trust Australians more to tow since it appears every vehicle on every road in every city is towing something every day! Obviously less rain... but we get no more than many places in Europe. Yeah, speed limit. Hmm...
This is an interesting read. Caravans abroad are designed with a different center of mass resulting in lighter tongue weight. This takes load off the vehicle rear axle and maintains load on the front axle. The side effect is that it makes the combination less stable which is why they have mandated maximum speed limits while towing of 60 mph. It is not as simple as just looking at the ability of a vehicle to tow “X” weight. It is about vehicle dynamics and towing “X” weight safely. Each country is looking at it a bit differently.

https://oppositelock.kinja.com/tow-me-down-1609112611
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Old 11-19-2019, 11:58 AM   #51
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Actually quite the contrary, almost everyone here is trying to dissuade me from even considering an Escape with my current vehicle. This is made a little confusing / frustrating as two of the posters to this thread have said they towed or currently tow a 17b using a RAV4 (especially depending on model year), with significantly lower HP and torque (especially at the bottom), arguably less robust suspension and intelligent AWD, than the modern CX-9.
Aside from the comparison of these specific vehicles, it is important to note that power is important to towing convenience, but not to towing safety or stability. Every big commercial truck out there is slug-slow compared to typical travel trailer rigs, and they work fine (even if you might get annoyed following them up a long grade ).
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Old 11-19-2019, 12:45 PM   #52
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Hello folks!

As above, we're in the midst of a mind wracking decision process between the two primo tent trailer style campers out there, Somerset E3 and Opus, or fixed wall Casita Heritage Deluxe (bunks + bathroom) or Escape 17b (bunks option). We are a family of four, two sons, 14 and 11. Our sons are long and lean making length of bunks (the 14 year old is already 6') a real issue.

Maybe some of you went through a similar process and might want to share how you ended up at Escape? I am fairly well educated in all of the above brands, so I don't need advice like, "well, you know, the Somerset is a tent trailer, not a camper", etc... :-)

Quick facts! We live in Port Angeles Washington (Escape is a LOT closer than Texas). Our tow vehicle will be our 2016 Mazda CX-9 Grand Tour. All of the above (Somerset less so) will be cutting it pretty fine on capacity (3500) and tongue weight (350) but just today I learned of the existence of the seemingly magic "weight distrubuting" hitches which I plan to utilize. As every other continent on which the CX-9 is sold the towing capacity is rated at 4500-5000 pounds, I'm not too worried. I can be dissuaded by those with experience though!

My only experience towing anything is my utility trailer carrying my John Deere X300. I've never slept a single night in anything other than a mountaineering or car camping tent. That makes knowing what I want / need / would enjoy all the more difficult.

I guess I could list what I see as benefits to the above:

1) Opus: We LOVE the open airy feeling of the Opus. As I don't like the idea of splattering bacon grease all over the inside of my living area (very conscious of this given my history of backpacking in bear territory!) the pull out kitchen of the Off Road is very appealing. The lower weight of the On Road (though this model is being discontinued at the end of the year) however is also appealing. It has something like a toilet (I call these make believe potties) which is right next to mandatory because of wife's desires. Of the four, this is the most "make believe" of all toilet options. Would almost certainly get the inflatable annex as well for enormous living space. Best off road tow package for sure. It also has a huge storage rack system on the top.

2) Excepting ambience, the Somerset E3 does pretty much everything the Opus does, even more so if compared to the On Road version. While it doesn't necessarily feel like it, it does have more room, AND, a slide out dinette with I think the biggest table of all four options. No outside kitchen, but comes with outside grill. :-/ Inside shower which we might /probably never use, BUT, its make believe potty at least has a large hatch which gives some privacy for late night pees from the other bed. Could also leave the shower curtain up all the time for more privacy. Off road suspension, huge aluminum wheels, good tires, built like a tank, but the lightest of these four. Lots of room so if anyone pisses anyone else off, even if it's raining outside, we can get away from each other. It has, oh my goodness, the most ridiculous ubiquitous mind bogglingly mandatory not updated since the 70s decor. Depending on On vs. Off road it could either cost a little less or a LOT more.

3) Casita: The "heritage" floor plan allow for the very nice Casita bathroom while still sleeping four people in 17'er. We love the new slate grey interior package. I'm sure you're all familiar with the Casita. Sticking points for us are the tongue weight of the deluxe models (365, +15 over max, hence the WD Hitch) and the 80 pound, EIGHTY POUND, weight limit on the top bunk. Now, talking with Johnathan at Casita, whose personally hates that they still build them like this, he says the limiting factor there is that they only make that cushion's backing from 1/2" ply. He says manny Casita owners swap that out for a sheet of metal or 1" play and they're just fine well past 100lbs. That would be requirement to even consider the Casita.

4) Escape 17b!!! Liked that there's no strange carpeting on the walls / ceiling, but think it really must actually cut down on noise a bit. Love that the dinette is still usable as such even with the (200lb max, stock) bunk mod. (The Casita Heritage bunks just turn into a sofa. LOVE that's in BC, not Texas...It's a little chunkier which makes me just a touch nervous. Have to keep reminding myself that my car is only an anemic 3500 in North America and that the WD Hitch will help a lot.

For both traditional fixed wall campers I'm a little worried about total perceived space, viewing pleasure of surrounding areas (both the Somerset and Opus are like living in a panaroma) and, well... let's say, no real possibility of zippered up privacy sleeping compartment grown up togetherness time to be had. That said, the Eggs would give us a more palatable guest house options and certainly be warmer in cold weather. They'd also last forever and more than likely hold their value for at least that long.

My main day dream is stepping out of whatever we choose into the dawn of Zion National Park (which would be all the more awesome with the views in the Somerset or Opus) and smelling the desert scented morning air, or walking back trough the snow at twilight seeing my little home away from home with a couple strands of Christmas lights twinkling away while catching glimpses of my wife and sons playing cards through the window (which would be all the more awesome with the warmth of the Casita or Escape!).

Anyway, rambling. If you have thoughts, or insight, I'd love to hear it. If not, thanks for reading! Should mention we're headed up to Victoria for a quick few night getaway at which point we hope to stop by Escape.

If I remember, I'll post back here what we decide.


Cheers,

navajas
Hi: navajas... Agony is chosing... ecstasy is using!!! Alf
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Old 11-20-2019, 01:12 PM   #53
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Given feedback from this forum, I may be about to go buy a 1997 Chevy Suburban in what appears to be pretty damned great shape.

Anyone have any horror stories / warning about that for a tow vehicle?

Still not sure what we'll decide trailer wise because, regardless of all other factors, we still really love the Somerset and the Opus. On the other than we could just put the opus in the trunk and not have to worry about towing at all.

If not, and if I'm in time, I'll either have you folks to thank... or blame... for my new monster truck.
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Old 11-20-2019, 01:45 PM   #54
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This is an interesting read. Caravans abroad are designed with a different center of mass resulting in lighter tongue weight. This takes load off the vehicle rear axle and maintains load on the front axle. The side effect is that it makes the combination less stable which is why they have mandated maximum speed limits while towing of 60 mph. It is not as simple as just looking at the ability of a vehicle to tow “X” weight. It is about vehicle dynamics and towing “X” weight safely. Each country is looking at it a bit differently.

https://oppositelock.kinja.com/tow-me-down-1609112611
Hey, I only now saw that link. Great read, thanks a bunch!
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Old 11-20-2019, 06:30 PM   #55
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I wonder. It’s 4400lbs in Australia for example. Was wondering if they just trust Australians more to tow since it appears every vehicle on every road in every city is towing something every day! Obviously less rain... but we get no more than many places in Europe. Yeah, speed limit. Hmm...
I may be wrong but I think the 4.5 tonnes on the Australian regulations is likely the U.K. long ton which is 10,080 lb. Some Aussie states have rules that towing must not exceed 100 kph if over 4.5 tonnes, but otherwise the limit is the limit and on most highways I believe that's 110 km. I'd hate to be towing light tongue weight trailer with a small SUV on the cross continent highway #1 and meeting up on that two lane road with those massive road trains, at a combined speed of 220 kph
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Old 11-20-2019, 06:34 PM   #56
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I may be wrong but I think the 4.5 tonnes on the Australian regulations is likely the U.K. long ton which is 10,080 lb.
Tonnes are thousands of kilograms (which should called megagrams, Mg, but no one does), so they're 2200 pounds each and 4.5 tonnes is 9920 pounds (when this appears, it is likely converted from an earlier limit of 10,000 pounds and rounded).

The 4400 pound limit would likely be converted from 2000 kg (or "two tonnes").
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Old 11-20-2019, 06:52 PM   #57
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The 4400 pound limit would likely be converted from 2000 kg (or "two tonnes").
Yes. Moot at this point, but it’s 2000kg.
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Old 11-27-2019, 12:36 PM   #58
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Originally Posted by navajas View Post
Given feedback from this forum, I may be about to go buy a 1997 Chevy Suburban in what appears to be pretty damned great shape.

Anyone have any horror stories / warning about that for a tow vehicle?

Still not sure what we'll decide trailer wise because, regardless of all other factors, we still really love the Somerset and the Opus. On the other than we could just put the opus in the trunk and not have to worry about towing at all.

If not, and if I'm in time, I'll either have you folks to thank... or blame... for my new monster truck.
Wether you buy a Suburban or not, one aspect of your search I haven’t heard anyone mention is resale value. This should be an important consideration. We love our Escape 19 and don’t plan on upgrading, but that isn’t always the case. What works for you today may not be what works for you five years from now. One thing I do KNOW is that Escapes hold their value. Also the exchange rate of the US dollar to the Canadian dollar is also a consideration. I personally think you get more bang for your buck when you compare Casita to an Escape. If you are considering a pop up trailer I am sure you can find one on RV Trader ( I just saw a 2017 Somerset for $4,400) that is used. You could tow it with your vehicle and see if you really like camping at all.

We looked at trailers for close to ten years before we bought. I couldn’t stand sleeping on the ground in a tent anymore.
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Old 11-27-2019, 01:35 PM   #59
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Smile Trailer information

I found this website to be helpful:


https://www.trailerlife.com/trailer-towing-guides/


We graduated from tenting to a 13' Trillium. Unfortunately, Trilliums are no longer made. The closest is the Outback which is not prohibitively far from you:


https://trilliumtrailers.com/


We love our trailer and really like the lack of the set-up we had with the tent. BTW we tow with a Subaru Outback rated at 2700#. We are only two persons, so with children, you probably would want a larger trailer. Interior room is irrelevant since we are camping and spend most time out of the trailer.
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Old 11-27-2019, 02:57 PM   #60
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As someone who had a tent trailer (Jayco) when my sons went camping with us and now a 17b for the 2 of us, i think the tent trailer is a much better option with kids. We towed the cheap jayco across Canada coast to coast, all over gravel roads in the northwest territories and in the US south west in the middle of summer comfortably with a small SUV (ford escape). You get pretty efficient at packing/setting up once everyone gets a job. You're outside all the time except to sleep. We love our 17b but I wouldn't take kids in it without a tent. It's cozy enough with just us two.
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