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Old 10-01-2017, 11:42 PM   #1
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Hellos from SW CO/moab/looking for casita/escape

Hi all, I am looking for a fiberglass trailer for me and dog, roscoe. I have a 98 suburban 4x4 as a TV. I like exploring more off the beaten trail, BLM and national forest, but also the parks and monuments, deserts to mountains.

I am thinking the escape 17b would be my choice with upgraded insulation for winter travels south and summer travels to the northern mountains. Just checking in to see if anyone has some ideas to help me figure out best choice. I like the casitas 17 spirit deluxe, but once I found out about the escape, I think they have a better product with the way they build them and join them together, plywood instead of OSB, the "french drain" for condenstion and leaks, etc. I see they are hard to find in the used market, might just take the plunge and order a new one, always wanted to visit Olympia and do a pacific NW tour.

One of my concerns is how much gravel/dirt travel can you do without problems? I like to take the scenic routes and maybe get off the pavement. I know 4X4 roads would be pushing the envelope, put maybe some easy mtn passes would work that are not too rough.
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Old 10-01-2017, 11:59 PM   #2
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My 17B has spent most of it's life traveling forest service roads. It's the only way to get to the places I like to camp.
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Old 10-02-2017, 12:21 AM   #3
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These threads may help:

http://www.escapeforum.org/forums/f3...lity-9494.html

http://www.escapeforum.org/forums/f7...ers-11174.html

http://www.escapeforum.org/forums/f9...d-use-334.html

http://www.escapeforum.org/forums/f7...wing-5311.html
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Old 10-02-2017, 12:54 AM   #4
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And get the spray foam underneath!
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Old 10-02-2017, 09:56 AM   #5
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thanks everyone!

Good to know it will take a bit of a beating. I want the extra insulation package with the double pane windows and is big reason I am thinking Escape vs the Casita. I am amazed how little R value typical trailers have when there are some great insulation products like the thin mylar encased "bubble wrap" product you can get that is about R11. I saw the Bigfoot trailer is another option to look into and they have winterizing so they can work below freezing. I bet 99% of the market that buys travel trailers are for fair weather short trips, I would like the ability to take of for weeks or months and not be dealing with no water, frozen pipes and mechanical issues from rough roads. So easy for deserts to be warm by day and freezing by night, must be a pain to have to winterize for a couple nights of cold weather as unexpected fronts move in. They are calling 8-18" snow in Steamboat Springs/ up to 12" in Aspen today, oct 1, bet lots of folks are scrambling to get their trailers weatherized today.

I saw there is an aftermarket kit for the casitas for a set of shocks to help dampen the suspension, maybe Escape has the same or maybe this is not really needed with the torsion axles? Moab and most of southern Utah is all rock and the roads can be pretty rough, guessing they can take a bit of rock but pretty limited to clearance and axle/bearings limitations.

Anyone know what the realistic towing capacity of my 1/2 ton 98 suburban is with the 350/5.7 vortec motor and auto tranny, I think the rear diff is 3.42 (?) going to be for getting around well with mountain grades and alltitude? I believe they claim 8-9000 lbs, but that seems crazy unrealistic and would likely burn up the tranny/drivetrain over time. I just got this vehicle few months ago after my 01 forrd f150 5.4 motor had sudden motor failure. I have the factory tow package with a small tranny cooler, but thinking I should go ahead and put in a larger tranny cooler and change out the radiator for an oversized radiator as the original is 20 years old anyway. I know heat is what kills transmissions.

Back to trailers, any tips on upgrades that people like vs wasted space/weight/money? I am newby, but wanting capability to "boondock" for a while, so thinking solar in form of Zamp 80-120 amp would be good with some extra batteries. I know this is tied into how much amps you would be using. I would probably want sound system, maybe led tv for dvd (no dish), small microwave, and some kind of wi/fi access if that is possible through verizon and other "normal" usage. Not sure on awning, but probably worth it for sun/rain protection. I suspect I would set up outside kitchen when weather is permitting or hot, but want 2 burner inside stove and a reasonable sized fridg. Hard floors, no carpet, ac/furnace, max storage potential, LED lights, hitch receiver for bike rack, screens, good ventilation. Not sure on sizing for water/grey/black water, thinking more is better, shower/toilet (could skip bath sink). I am sure there is much more and all kinds of custom mods people come up with (swamp cooler, roof racks, etc), but I bet "less is more" as everything you add is more weight, cost and maintenance. I bet it is easy to get sucked into buying lots of extra options you never really use, but there might be some handi options that are worth having and maybe not apparent to newbies like me. I think I would prefer the 17 with single axle over the 19 double??
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Old 10-02-2017, 11:26 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by mcmars View Post

One of my concerns is how much gravel/dirt travel can you do without problems? I like to take the scenic routes and maybe get off the pavement. I know 4X4 roads would be pushing the envelope, put maybe some easy mtn passes would work that are not too rough.
Sometimes, in Baja, going off road is smoother than the Hwy. Two Baja's and one Alaska Hwy. without any problems. Unlike stickie's, a bit of rock and roll doesn't loosen up the shell and cause problems.

Ron
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Old 10-02-2017, 01:22 PM   #7
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I am amazed how little R value typical trailers have when there are some great insulation products like the thin mylar encased "bubble wrap" product you can get that is about R11
Foil-and-bubble wrap insulation such as Reflectix only has significant insulation value if the foil is facing an open space, so it can reduce radiant heat transfer. Sandwiched into a wall, it's essentially just bubble wrap, with an R-value of perhaps 1. The additional insulation now being installed by Escape is a closed-cell foam, which is more effective (but still thin... nothing like the polystyrene foam panels common in more conventional trailers).
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Old 10-02-2017, 01:47 PM   #8
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I saw there is an aftermarket kit for the casitas for a set of shocks to help dampen the suspension, maybe Escape has the same or maybe this is not really needed with the torsion axles?
Any suspension needs damping to work properly - that's what shock absorbers do, and why they're called "dampers" in some countries.

The rubber springs in a "torsion" axle such as the Dexter Torflex used by Escape provides better damping than common trailer leaf spring packs, so almost all trailer suspensions of this type in North America don't come with shocks, while shocks are commonly added to leaf-spring suspensions on better trailers. Shocks are commonly added to rubber trailer suspensions in Europe to improve ride and control, and Airstream has used shocks with their rubber suspensions for over five decades - Airstream switched to Dexter Torflex years ago, and adds shocks to them. Shock absorbers (separate from the springs) are certainly beneficial, but not needed to adequate performance by typical trailer standards.

There was a kit by Monroe (the shock absorber manufacturer) to add shocks to a Dexter Torflex, but it was discontinued over a decade ago.

Some companies have offered retrofit kits, such as the one available for Casitas from Orbital. The same company considered a kit for Escapes; Jim from Orbital (as member widgetwizard) discussed this in another topic to add to the list above from Dave:
Any Damage From Driving on Rough Roads?
I don't believe that Orbital put the Escape kit into production.

With no availability as original equipment on any moulded fiberglass trailer with rubber suspension, and no retrofit option for any brand other than Casita, the remaining method for getting shocks has been custom fabrication. Quite a few people have done that (mostly on Scamps), but I have not yet heard of an Escape.
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Old 10-02-2017, 03:19 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Brian B-P View Post
Some companies have offered retrofit kits, such as the one available for Casitas from Orbital. The same company considered a kit for Escapes; Jim from Orbital (as member widgetwizard) discussed this in another topic to add to the list above from Dave:
Any Damage From Driving on Rough Roads?
I don't believe that Orbital put the Escape kit into production.
I don't think it ever happened and I believe I heard Jim retired. I would call Orbital Machine Works directly to get the scoop.

Portable Generator Security, Casita Upgrades The Perfect Casita by Orbital Machine Works
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Old 10-02-2017, 04:52 PM   #10
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I have a 2004 Casita Spirit Deluxe 17' I'm about ready to sell ( just put down a deposit on an Escape 21), but we're in North Carolina. The Casita has a high lift axle, Orbital Machine works shocks and brackets, marine insulation/carpet and does well in "off road" situations, at least so far...
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Old 10-02-2017, 05:04 PM   #11
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MCMARS:

As several of the previous threads have indicated, In my opinion (experience) vibration due to "wash-boarded" roads is often the most significant issue. I believe that much of the reported damage to fridges, etc. is due to this.

On a trip to NV this past April, we experienced another type of damage. After dumping our tanks (at Cathedral Gorge S.P.) I drove too close to the edge of the built-up gravel pad that the dump station was located on. While this was clearly "operator error", I was moving quite slowly (had been completely stopped while dumping). I noticed in the rear-view mirror a significant twisting of the trailer (a 2015 17B with high-lift axle) as I drove off the edge of the pad. I didn't think that the resulting jolt had been that major, but upon arriving at our next destination, we found the inner pane of the double-pane rear window had cracked in numerous places--the outer pane was intact. We contacted Reace concerning this, and while he thought that the failure of the inner pane might have been due to a "stress point" in the window frame, his contact with the Hehr rep only revealed that Hehr's warranty was only for one year. As the trailer was 18 months old, we were responsible for replacing the window. In retrospect, I clearly should have not driven off the edge of the dump station pad, but the lasting message that I took from this experience is that even relatively minor seeming bumps or jolts may do significant damage to the trailer--I've certainly been more cautious on gravel/dirt roads since this experience. As mentioned by others, you may wish to go much slower than you think you need to. I still take our trailer on gravel/dirt roads, but try to minimize such use and drive very slow! Hope our experience may be of help to you.

Dave
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Old 10-02-2017, 05:14 PM   #12
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wish you were closer...

Bit of a drive to go to NC, but if the price were right

Quote:
Originally Posted by thiggins View Post
I have a 2004 Casita Spirit Deluxe 17' I'm about ready to sell ( just put down a deposit on an Escape 21), but we're in North Carolina. The Casita has a high lift axle, Orbital Machine works shocks and brackets, marine insulation/carpet and does well in "off road" situations, at least so far...
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Old 10-02-2017, 05:19 PM   #13
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wow!

Such a seemingly minor deal resulting in damage to window! And you had a 2 year warranty to boot, but bet they look at it as driver error. Guess the Escape/Casita would not make good "rock crawlers" as that involves lots of twisting stress on frame members.
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Originally Posted by Dave & Penny Smith View Post
MCMARS:

As several of the previous threads have indicated, In my opinion (experience) vibration due to "wash-boarded" roads is often the most significant issue. I believe that much of the reported damage to fridges, etc. is due to this.

On a trip to NV this past April, we experienced another type of damage. After dumping our tanks (at Cathedral Gorge S.P.) I drove too close to the edge of the built-up gravel pad that the dump station was located on. While this was clearly "operator error", I was moving quite slowly (had been completely stopped while dumping). I noticed in the rear-view mirror a significant twisting of the trailer (a 2015 17B with high-lift axle) as I drove off the edge of the pad. I didn't think that the resulting jolt had been that major, but upon arriving at our next destination, we found the inner pane of the double-pane rear window had cracked in numerous places--the outer pane was intact. We contacted Reace concerning this, and while he thought that the failure of the inner pane might have been due to a "stress point" in the window frame, his contact with the Hehr rep only revealed that Hehr's warranty was only for one year. As the trailer was 18 months old, we were responsible for replacing the window. In retrospect, I clearly should have not driven off the edge of the dump station pad, but the lasting message that I took from this experience is that even relatively minor seeming bumps or jolts may do significant damage to the trailer--I've certainly been more cautious on gravel/dirt roads since this experience. As mentioned by others, you may wish to go much slower than you think you need to. I still take our trailer on gravel/dirt roads, but try to minimize such use and drive very slow! Hope our experience may be of help to you.

Dave
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Old 10-02-2017, 05:28 PM   #14
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I had no idea!

I had no idea the Reflectix only is R1 in certain applications! As an old river guide, we would make custom cooler covers with duct tape and also cut out a piece that floats on top of the food and the lid inside, maybe not as good of idea as I thought. How about the poly-styrene 4x8 sheets with foil you buy at home depot? I used them to put under hardy board siding in Moab on south and west facing walls that bake in the sun. Wonder if that was a waste of money?

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Foil-and-bubble wrap insulation such as Reflectix only has significant insulation value if the foil is facing an open space, so it can reduce radiant heat transfer. Sandwiched into a wall, it's essentially just bubble wrap, with an R-value of perhaps 1. The additional insulation now being installed by Escape is a closed-cell foam, which is more effective (but still thin... nothing like the polystyrene foam panels common in more conventional trailers).
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Old 10-02-2017, 05:33 PM   #15
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And you had a 2 year warranty to boot, but bet they look at it as driver error. Guess the Escape/Casita would not make good "rock crawlers" as that involves lots of twisting stress on frame members.
I could be wrong but I believe that Escape Industries only provides a warranty for the parts of the trailer that they themselves produce; component parts (windows, for example) are under their own manufacturer's warranty. In the above case, the Hehr warranty only covered one year.
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Old 10-02-2017, 05:37 PM   #16
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Bit of a drive to go to NC, but if the price were right
We're going to ask $12,500...it's pretty loaded with stuff, new AC, new brakes, Aluminum rims and Maxxis tires...goes on and on.
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Old 10-02-2017, 05:42 PM   #17
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I could be wrong but I believe that Escape Industries only provides a warranty for the parts of the trailer that they themselves produce; component parts (windows, for example) are under their own manufacturer's warranty. In the above case, the Hehr warranty only covered one year.

Yeah, I think across the RV industry, their warranties cover the vehicle/structure itself. Any problems with the appliances, tires, etc,... are the responsibility of that manufacturer and their warranty.
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Old 10-02-2017, 08:50 PM   #18
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Foil-and-bubble wrap insulation such as Reflectix only has significant insulation value if the foil is facing an open space, so it can reduce radiant heat transfer.
Isn't the purpose of Reflectix to reflect radiant infrared heat? In that case, does it matter if it faces an open space?

In any event, my trailer has it (and the double-pane windows) yet my furnace seems to run a lot.
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Old 10-02-2017, 09:06 PM   #19
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Limited warranty?

That makes sense and I think is what is called "limited warranty" and good to understand who the warranty works.

Quote:
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I could be wrong but I believe that Escape Industries only provides a warranty for the parts of the trailer that they themselves produce; component parts (windows, for example) are under their own manufacturer's warranty. In the above case, the Hehr warranty only covered one year.
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Old 10-02-2017, 09:08 PM   #20
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I know this is tied into how much amps you would be using. I would probably want sound system, maybe led tv for dvd (no dish), small microwave, and some kind of wi/fi access if that is possible through verizon and other "normal" usage.
My electrical usage is about the same as your projected usage. My trailer has 232 Ah of battery power and 355W of rooftop solar panels. I am five+ months into a long trip in my trailer, and I can tell you that occasionally circumstances have depleted my batteries more than I would like. In particular, when boondocking you have to be aware of shade trees that block the sunlight to your panels. In addition to a rooftop panel or two, I would suggest a portable panel that you can sit in the sun when needed. Also, the time of year has a surprisingly large effect on how well your panels will charge your batteries. There are plenty of discussions on this site about solar power.
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