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Old 01-17-2024, 12:22 PM   #1
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What were your deciding factors when you purchased your Escape?

Hi, I am new to this forum and my wife, and I are getting ready to pull the trigger on a first-time trailer purchase.

May I ask what made you choose the Escape brand. What differentiated it for you when comparing it to its competition?

We are considering an Oliver, Legacy Elite, Casita either the Liberty or S Spirit Deluxe and the, Escape 17B. We had the opportunity to see a Casita the other day and liked it a lot and are hopping to see an Escape soon.

The reason for getting a trailer is I recently retired, and my wife will retire in a year or so. We sea kayak, and hike and the kinds of places we want to be able to explore do not have the best accommodations. We want to use the trailer as our base camp for our adventures. We also want to explore national parks here in the US and Canada.

Thank you,

Bobby
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Old 01-17-2024, 12:43 PM   #2
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I joined this group in 2018 and read everything for 4 years waiting to get closer to retirement. I chose a fiberglass trailer for it's resale value. Why Escape vs the others? I liked the 5th wheel the best of the layouts between all the brands. I wanted a queen bed that I didn't have to climb over my dog and wife to get out to use the bathroom at night. I could have gone the route of the bigger Oliver but if I remember it's 24' long and that's the better part of 10' longer that the 5.0 TA when hitched. Sure folks pull huge campers, not in my comfort zone however. So, to recap, it seems all fiberglass trailers hold a better resale of stick built so that's not a reason to choose between Oliver, Casita, or Escape so it really just boils down to I didn't like the floor plans of the other brands (or the rat fur of the Casita or the stark white interior of the Oliver).
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Old 01-17-2024, 01:23 PM   #3
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I have owned stick built, composite built, and molded fiberglass. Fiberglass is a more reliable trailer shell construction method. Period. I donít personally like riveted construction, bare OSB, or rat fur wall or ceiling coverings.

So that leaves Oliver, Bigfoot, and Escape. I donít like the Oliver floor plans. We can travel most of the year without the weight and size of a four season Bigfoot by equipping an Escape properly. We prefer smaller trailers, and Bigfoot gets pretty big to have a floor plan we like.

I had a Bigfoot pickup camper in a rainforest that eventually had a part of the paneling delaminate from the foam. It was a hassle to repair so it looked factory. We donít have that camper now, a 1992, but the 3rd owner still uses it. We were the 2nd owner. Both the stickie and composite RVís have long since fallen apart.

The single wall Escape is easier to repair than Oliver or Bigfoot in the unlikely chance I need to repair it. If I was single, Iíd probably look at an Oliver Elite I, but for the two of us, our E19 is perfect, and camps fine down to at least 10F.

Itís about floor plan / livability, construction details, and how you intend to use the trailer. We average 100 nights and 10,000 miles a year if you are curious about use vs reliability.

Hope that helps. Yes, I am pretty opinionated about what works for me in an RV. You might need something different.
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Old 01-17-2024, 02:01 PM   #4
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Make sure you tour the new Oliver models in person; they are the brightest white fiberglass I've ever seen anywhere. After ~5 minutes my eyes were hurting and I had to step outside. It felt like the very beginning of a mild snow blindness.
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Old 01-17-2024, 02:03 PM   #5
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Solid but lightweight construction, no seams to encourage water leaks, reliability, great (2013) price, great looking, custom build - excellent customer service, easy tow, head room, long term owner satisfaction, safety from critters out there. And, of course, if the time comes, great resale value.
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Old 01-17-2024, 03:12 PM   #6
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I owned an SOB (Some Other Brand) that was Shoddily Constructed And Maintenance Plagued; that was reason enough to purchase an Escape and I have never regretted that decision. I did look at Oliver but I didn’t want to camp in a very sterile looking hospital operating room as I saw it. The Oliver was, well designed and constructed. Casita was out of the question because every one I had ever been in my head was within an inch of the ceiling.
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Old 01-17-2024, 03:31 PM   #7
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Deciding factors for me:
  • Molded fiberglass (a starting point 'given')
  • Escape trailer build quality and overall value (bang-for-the-buck factor)
  • Roominess, storage, and 'sensible' floorplans
  • Factory customization opportunities
  • Towing ease and overall rig length (lack thereof) with the 5.0 specifically
  • I already owned a suitable tow vehicle
The long story ....

Love of camping began for me as a very young Scout living in an urban area (Austin, TX); my parents joined the fun and progressed through a variety of tents, pop-ups, and stick-built trailers when I was a youngster RV-ing as a family of four. When they were empty-nesters the folks moved to an Airstream and enjoyed the 'Airstream culture' for many decades in several trailers well into their retirement.

As a young then older adult I enjoyed car and motorcycle tent camping for many years and finally in 2005 bought a new Casita 17 which served me well for ~16 years. In 2021 I decided to look for a bit more room, mainly a trailer that offered separate sleeping and dining accommodations rather than daily 'conversion' of a dinette to a bed. My long and very satisfying experience with the molded fiberglass Casita (in contrast to observations of other folk's stick-built experiences) led me to discover Escape (and the substantially more expensive Oliver at that time).

All of the Escape offerings at that time met my basic criteria, this forum convinced me of the quality / value, and I already owned an F150 tow vehicle suitable for any Escape model; so, I only needed to make a model decision.

Nearby forum member David Murphy allowed me to tour his 2018 5.0TA in the 'summer of Covid' (both of us well-masked). David and his wife had already put many miles and nights on their Escape and frankly shared both the good and the few hiccups from their experiences. That was the deciding point, I was 'hooked', after further consideration and another couple of visits to examine David's trailer in more depth I finally placed an order later than summer for my own 'Built-for-Me' 5.0.

Absolutely no regrets, I'm forever indebted to this forum for making me aware of all the Escape models many attributes, and David especially for 'turning me on' to the 5.0TA.

Much of my story may not relate to your specific model interests, but I urge you to consider carefully the implications of a 'must convert dining for sleeping' vs 'a separate dining and sleeping' arrangement. IMO / IME both can be satisfying but the differences can be significant in the long run.

Welcome to the forum and happy shopping!
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Old 01-17-2024, 03:43 PM   #8
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Similar to the rest of the responses, we had owned other conventional trailers before and we knew we wanted a fiberglass trailer for the many reasons already discussed on this thread. We were open to Casita, Scamp, Escape, Oliver, and Bigfoot.

Oliver or Bigfoot would have needed to present us with something we especially wanted to make the value proposition. For us, those worked the opposite, heavier and more expensive to get trailers that didn't check off any special needs or do anything extra for us. In the case of the Oliver, the layout was especially not what we wanted as compared to efficiency (in weight and size).

Between the others, I didn't like the Casita fur walls or the Scamp interior.

And finally, the E-19 in particular was for us the perfect trailer. It is the smallest and lightest trailer we could find with our particular set of must-have's
1. Queen bed that is not the dinette (we hate making and unmaking the bed to have a dinette)
2. Full size RV fridge, no half-height units
3. A bathroom
4. A dinette that seats four

We are otherwise similar to you, we do a lot of travel and backcountry camping by kayak (well, solo canoes now) and we often use the Escape as a base camp. We also often use it as our travel lodge on the go. It's been great.
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Old 01-17-2024, 03:52 PM   #9
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Initially we were looking for a tandem axle trailer under 20' & were seriously considering the Winnebago Micro Minnie. However after doing more research about the quality of many stick-built trailers, we started looking at the fiberglass options.
In talking with a friend who owns an Airstream (aluminum), he recommended a rear dinette configuration, since the best views at many campsites are out the back window.
So the tandem axle fiberglass options were basically the Oliver Elite II, Escape (E19, 21 & 5.0) and Bigfoot. The Oliver didn't have a rear window dinette so we ruled it out (although my sister has one and loves it). We really liked the Bigfoot model we toured (I believe it was a B25 series) but it was quite pricey and larger than we were looking for.
After touring an E19, E21C & E5.0, we narrowed it down to the 21C & 5.0 (both having the rear dinette layout.) Although we never initially considered a 5th wheel, we finally did choose the 5.0, as it has plenty of room @ 21' long, but pulls like a 17' trailer and will allow us to fit in some campsites that wouldn't accommodate larger trailers.
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Old 01-17-2024, 04:31 PM   #10
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We had a 1999 stick built small 5th wheel that was perfect for us until repeated roof leaks resulted in it pretty much rotting apart. When we found the Escape 5.0 it looked even more perfect to us - no leak worries with fiberglass construction, and shorter than our old rig so it fit more easily into the national parks and other small campgrounds we like to go to. After touring one and being very impressed with the quality of construction we ordered ours and after five years couldn't be happier, we still refer to it as "the perfect trailer". We spent a good bit of time finalizing our build sheet and to this day wouldn't change a thing.

For us it had to be a fifth wheel for ease of towing and short overall length, so that ruled out Casita, Scamp and Oliver. We had never boondocked much with our old trailer, and have been thrilled at how capable our Escape is of going long periods easily without hookups. Not sure what the holding tank capacities are on the Casitas, but with the good size tanks on our 5.0 and the excellent solar/battery capacity available from Escape, if you anticipate camping without hookups a lot and staying very long in any one place I would think Escape would have a big edge there.
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Old 01-17-2024, 04:51 PM   #11
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Fiberglass construction, price, and quality of construction, in that order were my criteria. On quality alone, Oliver would have won, but is a lot heavier, and the price is excessive. The others you mention were not on my list, so I have no opinion on them.

Bottom line for me at the time was that the Escape 21was the most fiberglass trailer I could get for my money. I would not consider designs with an external skin on an internal frame especially a wooden internal frame. With the fiberglass structural skin, you can see what is going on structurally, and if you don't drill holes in it, leaks are rare and the consequences of them usually trivial if caught early. I could have gone for the 19, but the settee was at the wrong end. I would rather look out the back of the trailer than at the back of my truck when backed into a campsite.

Prices may have changed in the meantime, so homework is required, especially the comparison between Oliver and Escape. If four season camping is important, the Oliver would likely be more effective than any of the Escapes. Even with extra insulation, the Escape is not a four season design. Even three season camping requires care to deal with condensation along the mattress sides and the backs of settee cushions. It would be easy for mildew to get ahead if the issue was not managed.
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Old 01-17-2024, 04:59 PM   #12
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Several years ago, a campsite neighbor pulled up with the coolest-looking compact 5th wheel trailer I had ever seen. It resembled a Boler on steroids and was called an "Escape" (a brand I had never heard of prior). The owner was happy to provide a tour and educate me as to what made ETI trailers different from the conventional "Elkhart Indiana" RV brands. I never forgot about that encounter.

Fast forward about a decade....and I found myself in need of a travel trailer that could serve as a home-away-home for 2-4 days/week through the summer season for my out-of-town weekend job. If I was going invest $$$ into an RV, I wanted something that would last me well into retirement (still few years away) and not fall apart after the first few seasons. My plans are to eventually travel to south-and-sunny destinations during the winter. Longevity and durability were a primary concern. After seriously researching over a dozen alternatives, I placed a deposit on an E19 in late 2021 and took delivery in May 2023.

The things that ultimately convinced me that an E19 was the right choice:
- Molded fiberglass construction that should last me for the next 30+ years with proper maintenance.
- Tandem axles (not offered on almost any other competitor in this size range)
- High GVW rating (5000lbs at the time) with a great deal of storage space available for its size.
- A true queen-sized bed with a real mattress.
- Very well-insulated for a 3-season trailer (especially with double glazed windows and optional spray-foam underside)
- Small/light enough to be towed with a mid-size truck, but large enough to live out of comfortably. It has all the features of a much larger RV in a small package.
- Quality interior finishes (admittedly not at quite the same level as an Oliver, but much better than the plastic-covered-cardboard feel that most of the Elkhart brands exhibit).
- Ability to custom build and configure the trailer to meet my specific needs and budget.
- Made in Canada, with the factory only about 600 miles away from home.

After spending 60+ nights in my trailer this past season, I have no regrets. I really gained an appreciation for the construction quality after waxing the shell for the first time.....while closely examining things like the quality of the gelcoat, wheel wells, roof, seals, seams (or lack thereof) and exterior fixtures.

I never seriously considered an Oliver or Casita. Neither were a practical option for me to order new. I think in terms of design/construction/interior finishes, that ETI trailers fall neatly between those brands.
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Old 01-17-2024, 05:08 PM   #13
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We went from tent camping for many years to a stick built slide-in truck camper. In the first month of ownership I had to completely disassemble and rebuild the truck camper due to long term water leakage in the roof. Although it served us well for years I was done with stick builts.

We nearly bought a Casita at one point and, although we didn't get it, we were very impressed with the molded fibreglass trailer idea.

When it came time to look at trailers again we only considered molded fibreglass.

We investigated everything including all the aforementioned brands as well as which type of tow vehicle we wanted. We saw as many fibreglass trailers as we could find and test drove all kinds of tow vehicles.

For us, like some of the commenters above, Olivers were too expensive, Casita and Scamps were lower-end and Bigfoots were too big and heavy. We wanted something compact so we could get into out-of-the-way places like we did with our slide-in truck camper and a pickup is my prefered daily driver vehicle anyway so the 5.0TA was a no brainer for us.

Another large deciding factor for our choice of a 5.0TA was the permanent queen-size bed with no crawl-over, but many of the other features checked our boxes too. Customization was a big one, as was the large fridge and indoor bathroom.

This forum had a large impact on our choice of an Escape. This kind of peer support is invaluable. When we ordered in 2014 the original owners of ETI, Reace and Tammy, were running the company and they represented their product in a VERY professional manner, adding further to our comfort with our choice of an Escape. Oh, and made in Canada was icing on the cake.

We have been nothing but totally satisfied with our 5.0TA and wouldn't make a different choice if we were buying again.

I hope all this helps with your decision.
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Old 01-17-2024, 05:12 PM   #14
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I should have mentioned, (and the many people here who have mentioned the Escape 5.0 reminded me) but we think the Escape 5.0 TA is a very nice trailer that would have met all of our needs. BUT, we carry boats most of the time we are camping and there's no way to carry boats and pull a fifth wheel at the same time. So that was the main reason we had to rule it out.
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Old 01-17-2024, 05:47 PM   #15
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My first trailer was a fiberglass Trailswest Campster. 13 feet, <7 feet tall, with a popup section to stand in. I spent a night with torrential rain and thunder warm and dry. A friend had just bought an "ultralight" something or other, it leaked, she swore off ever owning a trailer again and took it back. FF the Campster lacked a lot of amenities so when I had a chance to by an Escape 15A (used) I went for it, and then in 2020 moved up to a new 17b because I wanted a bathroom (and solar and AC). I looked at Scamp and Casita floorplans but liked Escape better and they were closer to home.
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Old 01-17-2024, 06:09 PM   #16
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We looked at stick built campers for several years. No Slideouts, Tandem Axles and no longer than 22'. Unfortunately we never found anything that we liked.

We thought about fiberglass and at the time I only knew of Casita and Scamp. We looked at a Casita but is was way too small and only had a single axle. A friend mentioned Escape Trailers so we called about their Ambassador Program and were connected with some local area Ambassadors.

We toured a 19, a 21C and a 21NE. We were very impressed with the overall quality of the construction and fiberglass exterior. We went home that day and placed a deposit.

Our 21C was in the Goldilocks Zone for us. The price fit our budget. The quality was spot on. It fit our length requirement. The layout was perfect for 2 and the occasional grand daughter. It was only 7'-4" wide. It had tandem axles. It weighed under 3500 lbs dry.
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Old 01-17-2024, 07:11 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BobbyP View Post
Hi, I am new to this forum and my wife, and I are getting ready to pull the trigger on a first-time trailer purchase.

May I ask what made you choose the Escape brand. What differentiated it for you when comparing it to its competition?

We are considering an Oliver, Legacy Elite, Casita either the Liberty or S Spirit Deluxe and the, Escape 17B. We had the opportunity to see a Casita the other day and liked it a lot and are hopping to see an Escape soon.

The reason for getting a trailer is I recently retired, and my wife will retire in a year or so. We sea kayak, and hike and the kinds of places we want to be able to explore do not have the best accommodations. We want to use the trailer as our base camp for our adventures. We also want to explore national parks here in the US and Canada.

Thank you,

Bobby
I wanted the smallest lightest molded fiberglass trailer with a full time bed and tandem axles. That was the Escape 19.

I was originally considering a single axle Casita, but, tandem axle trailer tow better both on the highway (less prone to sway) and on poorly maintained Forest Service roads one axle can carry the load as the other one goes into a pothole. Making for way less side to side motion of the trailer.

An Oliver was too heavy as my tow vehicle has a 5000 lb towed weight limit.
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Old 01-17-2024, 08:36 PM   #18
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My 2022 Escape 5.0 is my first trailer, & I note that you too will be newbies. In addition to all of the items mentioned above, the folks on this forum were an important factor in my decision. They patiently answered my most basic (stupid?) questions, shared their experiences, & were just helpful in every way. One member, who was about a year ahead of me in the process, even shared his build sheet with me. This is a lovely little community here on the forum that makes owning an Escape an even better experience. Oh, & the trailer's been great too!
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Old 01-18-2024, 10:20 AM   #19
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I've never seen an Oliver in person, but I do like the aesthetics and I think the twin bed layout would have worked well for us.

One thing I don't like about the Oliver Legacy Elite II is the smaller fridge. You'd think that given their high price point, they would have provided in a larger fridge comparable to the Escape or Bigfoot.
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Old 01-18-2024, 11:17 AM   #20
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If you are reasonably tall, one significant advantage that ETI trailers provide over most of the molded fiberglass competition is the broad availability of 79-80" beds with permanent mattresses.

Oliver: Only available in the larger Legacy Elite II with the standard floorplan. Even then, you are sleeping on dinette cushions unless you upgrade to a permanent mattress.

Scamp: Might be offered on the 19' 5th wheel, but definitely none of the bumper pull models.

Casita: Only on the Independence (twin bed) and Liberty models. The latter only is possible if the entire dinette area is converted to bed space....making it impractical to fit a permanent mattress.

Bigfoot: Only on the 25' twin bed model.

Escape: 19, 21C, 21NE, 5.0, and 23 twin version. All come with a proper mattress.
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