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Old 09-04-2016, 03:03 PM   #1
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close to ordering a 17- options, options, options

I'm a bit lost on the option list- we want to not regret any of them, or regret not ordering something...

We're currently on the east coast, but being military, could be stationed anywhere.

Must haves: A/C, bunks for the kids, dual pane windows, external shower, 2-way water heater, high axle,

On the fence: Foam underbelly, heating pads, USB charging ports, solar, bigger batteries

I don't know what it means to have:

Inverter?
Surge protector?
Removable power cord?
Maxx fan upgrade?

Dual pane windows- frameless vs framed? I read the other thread and still don't know the difference. Will framed let in more air?

Do I want a window in the bathroom?

Really, money isn't as important as getting the right trailer, but I don't want extra complexity of stuff we don't need to pay for.

Definitely don't need TV or audio for us. We're happy with iPads and a blue tooth speaker.

For starters, we plan to camp mostly at campgrounds, but most around here don't have hookups where we like to go. I also want to be able to boondock and handle cold weather. I envision even using the trailer when visiting friends and family and be able to stay in the driveway instead of the guest room.
Help!
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Old 09-04-2016, 04:22 PM   #2
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If you want to camp without electric then you will need the solar and dual 6 volt batteries. The removable power cord is just that, one that disconnects from the outside and you stow it else where versus a cord you pull thru a hole in the trailer, it is permanently attached. The surge protector is similar to what you may use at home to protect your electronics, computers, televisions from voltage spikes, but this protects the entire trailer from issues. The inverter allows you to use 120v appliances off your batteries. If you plan it correct, you can have all 12v appliances other than a/c and microwave. You definitely would need more usb charging ports if you go that way. So you can either set it up for one type of camping or get options that allow you to camp with or without electric, your choice.
PS- welcome to the forum.
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Old 09-04-2016, 04:35 PM   #3
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You definitely would need more usb charging ports if you go that way.
Or you just buy something like this and say screw it... I want to charge over here
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Old 09-04-2016, 04:39 PM   #4
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The one pictured is for converting 120v to 12v, so you would need to be plugged into cg electric. As an alternate you can have 12vUSB installed for your computers and phones and charge off your batteries/solar without having electric hookups. Free electric....
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Old 09-04-2016, 04:58 PM   #5
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Greg,
We have a 2015 17A, and love it.
Options:
Surge Protection is a definite Yes. campground electrical can be OK, or notoriously bad, surge protection is a must.
(Note this is different from the inverter, which merely converts 12V DC battery power back to 120V AC for AC appliances, when AC shore power isn't available. our Microwave and A/C unit are just along for the ride when we boondock).
The stock Maxx Fan is a powered ventilator that is very quiet. The upgrade can give you a smoke-colored lid instead of the translucent white one. The upgrade also gives you a remote control, but for the 17, the ceiling controls are very easily reachable.
Foam underside insulation is a must-have, both in cold and hot weather. A nice plus is that it cuts down outside noise.
We got the little awning window over the kitchen sink, and use it all the time. Even on very cold nights (8-9000 ft. at a fishing camp) or on rainy nights (Olympic Peninsula) we leave the awning window open a bit, and have the faxxfan vent open (and sometimes the fan on "low") for ventilation.
Front exterior storage. We listened when poster after poster on the forum, and our friend Pat who gave us our first look at an Escape, said to get it. There's plenty of storage for the wet and dirty stuff you don't want inside the trailer (Think: hoses, chocks, jack, etc). A BIG bonus: it protects the front of the trailer: On our last trip up US 395, the car in front of us hit and kicked up a truck tire tread, which I almost avoided with our tow vehicle tires, but it hit and slightly cracked our storage bin on the tongue. That would have been a hole in the trailer.
We have the permanently-attached shore power cord. I got an extra 30 ft. 30 Amp extension cord for those times when we need extra length. Or, if I decide that the permanent one is too much trouble to pull out of and push pack into its hole in the trailer corner, I'll just use the extension as if IT were the detachable one. (Much cheaper this way, as well - $40 versus $100++).


We added a 12V DC on the exterior next to the 120VAC receptacle, and we have used it a fair amount.
We got Solar (150W + controller), and the group 29 larger 12V battery. We have plenty of power for our 12V needs, and the solar maintains battery charge even with the cover on the trailer (We got a CalMark cover that's made with Sunbrella fabric, so it lets in just enough So.Calif. sun to keep the battery up.
Weight distribution hitch (WDH): we were going to get one, but we have a Honda Pilot, and the mfr. says NO WDH, so we don't have one. We have found that the 17 is a very stable tow, with no sway. It's 12 ft. between the coupler and the axle on the 17 ft. trailer, and with the 4"x2" tube-steel trailer frame, the weight is low and distributed well.

Enjoy the decision-making. It's all fun, and exploring this forum for answers, you'll find a wonderful group of people with all manner of right answers.
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Old 09-04-2016, 05:10 PM   #6
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Greg,
You mentioned "kids" (plural). A couple of thoughts regarding the 17.
We got a 17A, no bathroom, but it gave us a permanent queen-size bed in the front, so we don't have to make up the dinette into a bed every night. We can still sleep four if we make up that dinette. In the 17B, "kids" means two adults in the dinette/bed, and two kids in the 3 ft. wide goucho bunks in the front. According to past discussions on the forum, there is a weight limit to the bunks, and teenagers reach that limit at the time of growth spurt! So, an Escape 19 may be worthy of consideration. (Side note to others on the forum: there, it's in print: a dyed-in-the-wool 17 owner suggesting such a thing as a 19!!!)
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Old 09-04-2016, 05:13 PM   #7
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(Side note to others on the forum: there, it's in print: a dyed-in-the-wool 17 owner suggesting such a thing as a 19!!!)
Nothing wrong with that. Depending on the age of the "kids", that extra space could come in handy.
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Old 09-04-2016, 05:26 PM   #8
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Lots of good info so far (all except for the suggestion that u go bigger to 19 ) although I will admit Don/Teresa make some valid points re packing kids along.

If u figure on doing lots of boon docking and go heavy into the 12 volt world u can skip the inverter. For example we don't have a microwave and don't miss it. We have AC which has been used about twice. But when u need AC and R hooked up to power it is nice. Sometimes, I wish we were not hauling the extra weight.

We have the detachable power cord which we like and store in the front storage box which I consider almost an essential - particularly if u haul kids

Welcome to the Forum.

Ps the 17 is a bit harder backing up than the 19 but it fits on our driveway where a 19 would not. Plus out in less structured areas it is nice having a smaller trailer.

Larry

We don't have it but some people really like the outside shower. Might be nice to have if u want to spray off the kids before u let them into the trailer
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Old 09-04-2016, 05:33 PM   #9
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.....................

Ps the 17 is a bit harder backing up than the 19 but it fits on our driveway where a 19 would not. Plus out in less structured areas it is nice having a smaller trailer.

Larry
Have to agree with Larry on the smaller trailer niceness!

We have pulled into shopping centers, and been able to pull-through into two spaces and park the rig without sticking out.

We even parked in the Trader Joe's parking lot in Bellingham amazingly enough. (Yes, Karen: it's true) The streets in the old part of downtown were too small, but the parking lot was OK.
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Old 09-04-2016, 07:48 PM   #10
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... you can have 12vUSB installed for your computers and phones and charge off your batteries/solar without having electric hookups.
Yes, or even better, just get 12V outlets ("accessory sockets") and use cheap USB adapters in them. There's no need to build USB power supplies into the trailer, although if you do that they should certainly get their power from 12V DC, not 120V AC.
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Old 09-05-2016, 02:09 AM   #11
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I'll just point out that if you haven't ordered yet, you have something like 9 months after you order to pick your options! No need to decide before you order.

We have a 17B on order, and this is our options list and reasoning:
- Remove wardrobe and extend seat. We have 2 dogs and one likes to sleep on a dinette seat. Since the back one will be made into a bed, need a spot for him. This is a zero-cost option, but you do lose storage so it's not for everyone.
- Storage box. Looks cool and extra storage can't hurt.
- Access hatch. Rear dinette underseat storage won't be accessible when made into a bed, so need the hatch.
- Dark brown formica trim. Looks better. No-cost option.
- 12v drop in microwave cabinet. We need one 300W inverter to charge our stuff and plan to put it up there since we won't have a microwave. I may add a couple more interior drops before we sign, but definitely don't need one outside.
- Opening frameless thermal window in bathroom. There is very little light coming in from the roof vent so need more natural light and the ability to open the window will be nice if damp.
- Foot flush toilet. We had this in our first RV and missed it in the second.
- Dual 6v batteries. We will be dry camping most of the time, and plan to use it in cold temps so need enough juice to run the furnace all night.
- Removable power cord. We had this in our last RV and liked it. Doesn't let any cold air in.
- Frameless Thermal windows + insulation. Plan to camp in snow so that's a no-brainer.
- Spray Foam insulation + heat pads. That snow again.
- Exterior fridge fan. Had that on our last RV and it worked great.
- Surge Protector. Why not. Cheap insurance.
- 2 way water heater. Had that on our last RV and liked it.
- Rotate cooktop 90-degrees. More counter space.
- Solar. Both of our previous RV's had at least 100w of solar. The dry camping thing again.
- A/C. Went back and forth on this, but we may be driving to the east coast in the summer so will need it for that trip at least.
- Heat tape around both grey and black dump valves. Snow again. We may not have above freezing temps for weeks so need the ability to dump.
- Horst Miracle probes in both tanks. After 2 previous RV's, want to try something better.
- 2 filled propane tanks. This is just for the pickup for convenience.
- Winterizing t-valve. Cheap. May not need it because I use compressed air to blow out the lines, but why not.

Notice that we didn't get the kitchen window or exterior shower. I felt like having another window right next to a very large window is not necessary, and it gives us a little more privacy. There are a lot of windows on that thing. We've had exterior showers in our previous RV's and one gave us trouble and we only used the other 1 time so not going there this time. I'm also concerned about it freezing in very cold temps although I don't have any data on that actually happening to anyone so it may be completely unfounded.
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Old 09-05-2016, 11:04 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by cpaharley2008 View Post
The one pictured is for converting 120v to 12v, so you would need to be plugged into cg electric. As an alternate you can have 12vUSB installed for your computers and phones and charge off your batteries/solar without having electric hookups. Free electric....
OR, inverter and all plugs setup to run off the batteries like I have and still use the plugin USB charger anywhere you want.
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Old 09-05-2016, 12:27 PM   #13
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Thanks for the inputs. Right now the boys are just turning 4 and 6, so we have some time before they will outgrow the bunks. I like skyfree's build list above, I'll probably be doing just about the same options.

Max insulation, heavy on batteries, solar, 12 volt outlets. We have 4 iPads and 2 iPhones so lots of usb cords to charge up. If I have access to 12 volt wires, I can add marine grade usb ports for really cheap. 4 for the dinette and a couple for the bunks would be great.

I don't even think I'll need a microwave- it can be added later right? So everything is 12v except the A/C, water heater (dual model), and heated tanks- which we'd need hookups for.

Good idea on the front storage box and external hatch. Would either let me fit my "clam" screened porch, which is 6' long folded (72"x8"x8") Quick-Set Escape Gazebo Canopy
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Old 09-05-2016, 01:35 PM   #14
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I'll just point out that if you haven't ordered yet, you have something like 9 months after you order to pick your options! No need to decide before you order.
My sentiments exactly! The only thing you have to decide before you order is which trailer you want. The rest of it you can agonize over until a couple of months before your completion date. Congrats on choosing Escape and have fun with your build sheet decisions!
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Old 09-05-2016, 01:35 PM   #15
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Skyfree, looks like a thorough list and you know all of the reasons that it fits your camping and not someone else's. We will be interested in hearing about your snow camping!
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Old 09-05-2016, 01:46 PM   #16
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I'm a bit lost on the option list- we want to not regret any of them, or regret not ordering something...

We're currently on the east coast, but being military, could be stationed anywhere.

Must haves: A/C, bunks for the kids, dual pane windows, external shower, 2-way water heater, high axle,

On the fence: Foam underbelly, heating pads, USB charging ports, solar, bigger batteries

I don't know what it means to have:

Inverter?
Surge protector?
Removable power cord?
Maxx fan upgrade?

Dual pane windows- frameless vs framed? I read the other thread and still don't know the difference. Will framed let in more air?

Do I want a window in the bathroom?

Really, money isn't as important as getting the right trailer, but I don't want extra complexity of stuff we don't need to pay for.

Definitely don't need TV or audio for us. We're happy with iPads and a blue tooth speaker.

For starters, we plan to camp mostly at campgrounds, but most around here don't have hookups where we like to go. I also want to be able to boondock and handle cold weather. I envision even using the trailer when visiting friends and family and be able to stay in the driveway instead of the guest room.
Help!

If you think you will not be plugged in at campgrounds all of the time but will boondock a good deal, you might want the 1500-watt inverter for high-draw items such as a hairdryer, microwave or some coffee makers. It is used for such 120 items when not plugged in.

The remote on the Maxx fan is used by some people when in bed reading or similar.

We have the included cord and find it easy to clean off with a towel while feeding back in. We use a malleable rope caulk to seal the hole around the cord when using it. Some people have other uses for their cords.

The surge protector protects against several problems and we would not be without it, having had many instances where storms or bad pedestals might have ruined our appliances.

For solar and off the grid much, the two 6-volts are recommended.

Foam keeps it cooler in hot weather and warmer in cold weather. We have the heating pads for cold weather and they would require having an electric hook-up.
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Old 09-05-2016, 02:31 PM   #17
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You should do LOTS of research re the heating pads IF you anticipate lots of off the grid camping in cold weather. I've read on this Forum heating pads will be quite the drain on your batteries. of course if you have hook ups for your cold weather camping I think u are fine.

Again, if u can do without the high energy drain devices like a micro wave/hair dryer u may be ok without the big inverter. We use a portable 90 W inverter for our coffee bean grinder and any other small regular electric device we want to use when off grid.



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Old 09-05-2016, 03:38 PM   #18
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If I have access to 12 volt wires, I can add marine grade usb ports for really cheap. 4 for the dinette
Yup, handy to have.

Ron
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Old 09-05-2016, 08:23 PM   #19
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You should do LOTS of research re the heating pads IF you anticipate lots of off the grid camping in cold weather. I've read on this Forum heating pads will be quite the drain on your batteries. of course if you have hook ups for your cold weather camping I think u are fine.

Larry
For us, winter camping would be either with our Honda 2000i generator or with full hookups. We did some with our previous Arctic Fox 990 and know how it goes with solar in the winter -- basically don't count on much. I doubt the heating pads are actually necessary in most situations, but when you need it you really need it so just want to be prepared.

Quote:
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Skyfree, looks like a thorough list and you know all of the reasons that it fits your camping and not someone else's. We will be interested in hearing about your snow camping!
Definitely will post a trip report here. We have a project to ski 100 ski resorts and we've pretty much picked the low-hanging fruit so need to venture farther afield. The Escape will give us another option for that kind of travel, although most of the use will be normal 3-season camping.
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Old 09-05-2016, 09:16 PM   #20
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Hi, Skyfree
I was primarily posting this to Zimm (op) or anyone else who may not know all the ins and outs of heat pads

Larry
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