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Old 10-16-2020, 08:42 PM   #1
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Hello! Questions about rough roads with 5.0TA or 21

Hello all, just joined the forum. By way of introduction, my wife and I reside in northern Colorado and have spent several decades hiking and tent camping all around the western US, more recently in a pretty basic Four Wheel pop-up truck camper, sans plumbing. We are looking for a little more room and comfort as we head toward retirement, but are used to camping off the beaten path on undeveloped BLM/FS land.

I envision that changing our mode of camping from truck camper to trailer will necessitate a different mindset, where we just don't go poking around any old dirt track, moving camp as we go, but instead try to find a decent base camp to park the trailer for a few days, unhook and explore from there. We enjoy moving around and seeing new things, so this will be a bit of a mental adjustment. Or maybe an opportunity.... Enough philosophy, on to my questions:

We have an Escape 19 on order for delivery next year, but are considering whether that will be a big enough upgrade from the truck camper, so are considering changing to the 21 or the 5.0TA. From surfing this forum, I've gotten a pretty good idea of the pros and cons of the various trailers, but what I can't get a real feel for is how much I concern I should have about the overhang clearance with the 5.0TA when pulled by our Tundra. I measure the truck bed at around 55" with the FWC on, but it may pop us a bit higher with a 5.0TA attached, since the pin weight of the 5th wheel would be lighter than the current camper (around 1200 lbs loaded). So, let's assume 56" for the bed height. If I get the lift kit, I might have 6 inches (or maybe a bit less) between the camper overhang and the tailgate and side rails.

I understand that these trailers are not designed for off road use, but it appears that a number of 17 and 19 owners get their Escapes pretty far back into the bush. Wondering how restrictive the 5.0TA would be by comparison.

I'm specifically wondering about that "last mile" or so to a prime boondocking spot, where you have leave the maintained dirt or gravel road and try to sneak the trailer down a narrow, uneven two-track to get to where you want to be. If the truck rolls one way into a rut and trailer rolls the other, is contact between the two likely? Somewhat likely? Usually avoidable with prudent driving? Just how big a liability is this vs a tow-behind? It appears the 5.0TA would have some advantage in maneuverability, especially compared to a 21.

I would be interested in hearing from 5.0 or 21-foot Escape owners who have some experience camping away from the "good" dirt roads. Especially those who have moved up from a smaller trailer as many have. Thanks in advance!
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Old 10-16-2020, 10:13 PM   #2
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First, trust instincts to go bigger. We've travelled on many a dirt road and have had both our fridge doors fall off. That was a 25 mile road with washboard sections. After our first(and only)double door horror we began a four point umbra hook with yoga strap regimen. Has worked really well for us and unlike bungee cords is more flexible and with buckle on strap is easy to adjust. Worked great on our recent 3 mile trip up to Cottonwood Lake outside of Buena Vista. The Cottonwood Pass with new paving was awesome!
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Old 10-16-2020, 10:43 PM   #3
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I know of at least one 5.0TA that's done the old unfinished Mex. 5 without any problem.

Things like cabinet and fridge doors should be secured on rough roads but that's about it.

Generally speaking if you're considering two sizes go with the larger one. Then you're not as likely to end up in the multiple Escape Owners club.

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Old 10-16-2020, 10:49 PM   #4
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There are precautions to be taken, which you probably are already aware of.
1. Remove heavy objects from the fridge door and secure it with a bungee or strap.
2. Place heavy objects close to the floor and close to the axle.
3. Secure loose objects.
4.
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Old 10-17-2020, 07:32 AM   #5
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Escapes have a limited travel suspension system designed for smooth roads. There are some Australian campers built and made for off road travel https://australianoffroad.com.au . I would not take my Escape off the beaten path....the cabinet catches are not that secure, neither the drawers.
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Old 10-17-2020, 11:20 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by cpaharley2008 View Post
....the cabinet catches are not that secure, neither the drawers.
True. Taking mine to Baja I broke one cabinet door hinge on both the 19 and 21. Same location, the door under the sink. Since a pair is under 5 bucks, I bought an extra pair so I'm good for two more trips to Baja.

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Old 10-17-2020, 11:23 AM   #7
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I wouldn't leave the pavement with my 2020 19'. If I was planning on the back country with my trailer, I would use a 17B. The big consideration in this advice is weight. The trailers are a little heavier than advertised. My 2020 19' is WAY heavier than my 2007 17B. Even with a Tundra 4X4 and off road tires, I would be worried about getting stuck. A tow or recovery can be very expensive. I got stuck many years ago with our Ford Freestar and 14' Fleetwood tent trailer. Bottom of the hill on gravel. A F250 helped me to get going, and that was in a busy organized campground.

As far as size, I'm happy with our 2020 19' but can see an upgrade to the 5.0TA. The crawl over in the bed isn't much fun. I would rather climb up the stairs and crawl into bed from the end.


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Old 10-17-2020, 11:37 AM   #8
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I just read the other current thread, Urgent Furnace not working. The one reason I don't like to bounce my trailer around is I'm not worried about the trailer, I'm worried about the Fridge, AC, MaxFan, all the supplied parts that will cause you problems down the road. Bounce the furnace around to much, and it will let you down when you need it most.


https://www.escapeforum.org/forums/f...old-19220.html
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Old 10-17-2020, 12:01 PM   #9
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And yet, even though I've traveled the super freeways in Baja with both trailers I've never had any of those problems due to rough roads.

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Old 10-17-2020, 12:31 PM   #10
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Appreciate the quick responses.

It sounds like WRT rough roads, it depends on your point of view about securing cabinets and such. I've also had everything wind up on the floor of our Four Wheel camper many times before coming up with a packing system and internal lash down points to mitigate the issue. With the limited suspension of the Escape trailers, I expect that long stretches of washboard could indeed be painful.

Doug, your point about not shaking up the mechanical components is worth considering. I think we would avoid beating up the trailer over extended travel on rough roads, and go really slow if it's unavoidable. I also appreciate the weight argument for the larger campers. But I think the 17B is too small to be a useful step up from a truck camper. If I were traveling solo, or we were 10 years younger, I think that's what we would get.

What eludes me, having never owned a 5th wheel, and hopefully some 5.0TA owners will chime in, is the issue of the overhang contacting truck rails/tailgate on short stretches of uneven dirt "roads." The kind that aren't necessarily rocky or particularily technical, but may be rutted or unevenly sloped where the articulation of the truck and the side-to-side sway of the trailer could cause contact between the two. Or short ledges that force the truck and trailer to hop over at differnt times, with the possibility of the tailgate contacting the trailer. In these situations, I would expect that a tow-behind would be preferable, but I'm just not sure how much worry to put on that.

Thanks to all for your comments!

Mark
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Old 10-17-2020, 12:34 PM   #11
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Those photos from Baja increase my comfort level with this decision. Thanks, Ron!
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Old 10-17-2020, 01:07 PM   #12
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I should clarify my view. I cringe when I see folks abusing tools and equipment and personally don't like washboard and rough roads, even when not towing. And I recognize an Escape isn't equivalent to an Australian outback trailer, there are times when a few miles of rough road will get you somewhere you want to be.

So, while I don't think every weekend should be off roading in an Escape, the one piece body shell goes a long way in not having the problems a stickie might on similar roads.

Ron
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Old 10-17-2020, 02:03 PM   #13
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Exactly how I look at, Ron. We camp in Wyoming often to avoid the crowds from the Front Range, and while not into abusing the rig, if we never left pavement we might as well stay home.
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Old 10-17-2020, 02:52 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rossue View Post
First, trust instincts to go bigger. We've travelled on many a dirt road and have had both our fridge doors fall off. That was a 25 mile road with washboard sections. After our first(and only)double door horror we began a four point umbra hook with yoga strap regimen. Has worked really well for us and unlike bungee cords is more flexible and with buckle on strap is easy to adjust. Worked great on our recent 3 mile trip up to Cottonwood Lake outside of Buena Vista. The Cottonwood Pass with new paving was awesome!
Ross, I meant to ask this question before when the fridge strap was mentioned. Sorry I didn’t, especially when I’m due to pull my old 19 over a rough AZ road soon.

When you installed your fridge strap to keep the door closed, how did you avoid putting screws through the side of the refrigerator?

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Old 10-17-2020, 04:40 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Mark J View Post
Appreciate the quick responses.



It sounds like WRT rough roads, it depends on your point of view about securing cabinets and such. I've also had everything wind up on the floor of our Four Wheel camper many times before coming up with a packing system and internal lash down points to mitigate the issue. With the limited suspension of the Escape trailers, I expect that long stretches of washboard could indeed be painful.



Doug, your point about not shaking up the mechanical components is worth considering. I think we would avoid beating up the trailer over extended travel on rough roads, and go really slow if it's unavoidable. I also appreciate the weight argument for the larger campers. But I think the 17B is too small to be a useful step up from a truck camper. If I were traveling solo, or we were 10 years younger, I think that's what we would get.



What eludes me, having never owned a 5th wheel, and hopefully some 5.0TA owners will chime in, is the issue of the overhang contacting truck rails/tailgate on short stretches of uneven dirt "roads." The kind that aren't necessarily rocky or particularily technical, but may be rutted or unevenly sloped where the articulation of the truck and the side-to-side sway of the trailer could cause contact between the two. Or short ledges that force the truck and trailer to hop over at differnt times, with the possibility of the tailgate contacting the trailer. In these situations, I would expect that a tow-behind would be preferable, but I'm just not sure how much worry to put on that.



Thanks to all for your comments!



Mark
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Old 10-18-2020, 12:10 PM   #16
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Sounds like truck bed contact with the trailer overhang is mostly a non-issue.

Based on the advice here, I think we will probably change our order from a 19 to either a 21 or the 5.0TA. I'm not concerned about the stairs--must be easier than climbing into the bed of a truck camper. The only remaining debate centers around losing the utility of the truck bed with a shell on it.

We also have an 18-1/2'-long canoe purchased back when we lived in Minnesota. I can't picture how we would ever carry that thing on the 5th wheel, but we don't use it that often out west, so maybe we'll just sell it if we get the 5.0TA.

Thanks again to all who responded.

Mark
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Old 10-18-2020, 02:06 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Emjay View Post
Ross, I meant to ask this question before when the fridge strap was mentioned. Sorry I didnít, especially when Iím due to pull my old 19 over a rough AZ road soon.

When you installed your fridge strap to keep the door closed, how did you avoid putting screws through the side of the refrigerator?

Emjay
I use footman straps to secure mine. https://www.strapworks.com/ProductDe...hoCEZYQAvD_BwE
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Old 10-18-2020, 02:50 PM   #18
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We also have an 18-1/2'-long canoe purchased back when we lived in Minnesota. I can't picture how we would ever carry that thing on the 5th wheel, but we don't use it that often out west, so maybe we'll just sell it if we get the 5.0TA.
Some people carry a canoe on a rack over the truck cab, extending forward to clear the trailer. One end can extend somewhat rearward past the cab without hitting the trailer, but 18-1/2' is still very long for this. Maybe trade it for a smaller canoe?
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Old 10-18-2020, 03:05 PM   #19
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Some people carry a canoe on a rack over the truck cab, extending forward to clear the trailer. One end can extend somewhat rearward past the cab without hitting the trailer, but 18-1/2' is still very long for this. Maybe trade it for a smaller canoe?
There are folding and inflatable canoes now too.
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Old 10-18-2020, 03:14 PM   #20
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We also have an 18-1/2'-long canoe purchased back when we lived in Minnesota. I can't picture how we would ever carry that thing on the 5th wheel, but we don't use it that often out west, so maybe we'll just sell it if we get the 5.0TA.
I can take a 14.5'er but wouldn't want to go longer, and that's with an 8' truck bed.
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