"fiberglass skin" trailers versus Escape "fiberglass egg" trailers - Escape Trailer Owners Community

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Old 01-05-2014, 03:46 PM   #1
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"fiberglass skin" trailers versus Escape "fiberglass egg" trailers

My wife and I have been thinking about purchasing a trailer with the view to see more of Canada/USA as we enter our retirement years. We’ve appreciated “lurking” on the Escape Community Forum and note how much information Forum members appear willing to share with one another. We’ve been out to Chilliwack, met with Kim and toured several Escapes (we live in the Lower Mainland).

? we would like to have information about are the pros/cons of a “fiberglass skin” trailer in comparison to an “egg.”

I understand that that fiberglass skin trailers are aluminium stud framed trailers. I think their profile would be higher than an Escapes, their towing would be somewhat less stable due to a different frame/suspension.

There is a significant price differential between Escape and either fiberglass skin or wood stick trailers.

—- here is some personal info to give context to the kind of traveling we are thinking about:

we are both turning 60 this year and want to see more of Canada and some of the States.
want the freedom of traveling but hate the notion of motels/restaurants every day. don’t want to be the ones dragging their houses down the highway.
have gone from looking at the tear-drop wee tiny trailers, transitioned (via one-foot-itis) to thinking the Escape 19 has what we want (or the 17b). are twitchy about stick trailers due to leaks.
have never towed but are willing to learn, will buy a “tug.”
aren’t in a huge rush cause I (Larry) will be working for several more years.

Have looked at small 2013 Lance 1274 and Trail-Lite Crossover trailers which come with all the bells and whistles, aren’t huge, are “fiberglass skin” and cost way less than the Escape. Especially after I (Larry) get the Escape tricked out with all the options I know I will order if I go down this road with the Escape. The sales pitch we’ve heard from the ‘fiberglass skin” salesman is that with proper maintenance the trailer will last but it’s towing will be somewhat less stable than a comparatively sized egg. And we were discussing Escape trailers with him.

Thanks for any information Forum Members are able to share. I’ll answer any questions if I’ve been unclear.

Larry S.
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Old 01-05-2014, 03:59 PM   #2
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I've got a small stick built trailer (SB hereafter) now, I have absolutely no issues with towing stability. It is taller and wider then an Escape which equated to more room. They weigh roughly the same for a like sized fiberglass trailer. Suspect the SB gets worse mileage due to non aerodynamic shape and larger frontal area. SB's do indeed take constant care and are susceptible to extensive water damage, parking in a permanent building may well eliminate much of the chance of water damage. From what I've seen, quality SB's are priced about the same as the Escape, you can get up to 30% off a stick built, not so with the Escape.

The Lance is one of the better constructed SB's, can be had with full size beds, no luan in the siding or roofing, and have dry baths. Other well built SB's are considerably heavier then either the Lance's or Escape, compare them to Arctic Fox.
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Old 01-05-2014, 05:07 PM   #3
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stick built vs escape

Quote:
Originally Posted by padlin View Post
I've got a small stick built trailer (SB hereafter) now, I have absolutely no issues with towing stability. It is taller and wider then an Escape which equated to more room. They weigh roughly the same for a like sized fiberglass trailer. Suspect the SB gets worse mileage due to non aerodynamic shape and larger frontal area. SB's do indeed take constant care and are susceptible to extensive water damage, parking in a permanent building may well eliminate much of the chance of water damage. From what I've seen, quality SB's are priced about the same as the Escape, you can get up to 30% off a stick built, not so with the Escape.

The Lance is one of the better constructed SB's, can be had with full size beds, no luan in the siding or roofing, and have dry baths. Other well built SB's are considerably heavier then either the Lance's or Escape, compare them to Arctic Fox.
Have you looked at a Escape 21 or a Bigfoot 21 or 25ft. Molded Fiberglass Trailers will last forever if taken care of. Some people own old Fiberglass Bolers that were made in the 1960's and they are still camping in them today. I do not believe a stick built trailer will last that long without leaking somewhere.
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Old 01-05-2014, 05:16 PM   #4
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Is there a difference between "stick" to "fiberglass skin" built trailers? Do "fiberglass skin" last longer then "stick" built. I'm given to understand that fiberglass skin are large single sheets of fiberglass type material onto aluminum frame. So no wood in the construction.

We are very attracted to the construction of the Escape, we like the lighter weights and appreciate the longevity of an egg. We are just thinking about the fiberglass skin of something like the Lance as a cost saving measure.

Thanks for the responses. Much appreciated.
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Old 01-05-2014, 05:35 PM   #5
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Stick built has to do with the framework. Slab sided trailers (even if fiberglass panels) have to be attached to something. Some "stickies" have aluminum frames, others are wood. All have many seams and will eventually leak. But, so will an all molded towable without maintenance. It's just that the maintenance issues with an all molded towable is far less extensive.

If you want to compare the two. Check the resale prices of a 10 year old "stickie" versus an all molded towable. Whether we like it or not, buying a trailer is buying an asset. How much of a return you'd like to get on your asset when you go to sell (and you will eventually...even if it's just because of your age) is up to you.

I'm older than you... and I know where I want to spend my hard-earned money. YMMV

Jim will chime in. He's the man with experience about why he sold his really new Lance and bought an Escape.
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Old 01-05-2014, 05:39 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChuckS View Post
Have you looked at a Escape 21 or a Bigfoot 21 or 25ft. Molded Fiberglass Trailers will last forever if taken care of. Some people own old Fiberglass Bolers that were made in the 1960's and they are still camping in them today. I do not believe a stick built trailer will last that long without leaking somewhere.
Chuck
Hi Chuck, I have a 5.0 TA on order, if "on order" is what you call being on the build list. I've learned my Stick Built (actually aluminum framed) lesson.

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Originally Posted by LarryandLiz View Post
Is there a difference between "stick" to "fiberglass skin" built trailers? Do "fiberglass skin" last longer then "stick" built. I'm given to understand that fiberglass skin are large single sheets of fiberglass type material onto aluminum frame. So no wood in the construction.

We are very attracted to the construction of the Escape, we like the lighter weights and appreciate the longevity of an egg. We are just thinking about the fiberglass skin of something like the Lance as a cost saving measure.

Thanks for the responses. Much appreciated.
Personaly I consider stick built any non fiberglass egg style trailer. Of the stick builts you'll find aluminum and wood framing, fiberglass, filon, and aluminum siding. Roofing techniques vary also. The Lance uses no wood in the siding, which is good, all the filon sided trailers, which look just like the fiberglass Lance uses, is a thin skin of filon (plastic composite) glues to thin luan plywood.
My Starcraft is luan/plywood glued to an aluminum frame, the floor being 1/4" plywood sandwiching an aluminum frame. Both sides, roof, and floor, can and do rot when leaks occur. The maintenance needed is the battle to keep them from getting leaks.
Lances walls won't rot as they are Azdel (composite) as a backing for the fiberglass as opposed to plywood, the floor still looks to be plywood from the description on their web site but I could be wrong. The floor is what went on my Starcraft.
Real fiberglass trailers like Escape do not have these issues.
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Old 01-05-2014, 07:49 PM   #7
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Larry and Liz,
I have owned 8 campers in the past 6 years, 4 of them were fiberglass panels over aluminum frames, including 2 Lance products (a 2010 Lance #1880 and a 2012 Lance #1575), a stick built aluminum, and 3 molded fiberglass trailers as we refer to the units made in molds with no studs versus panels glued to frame studs. The fiberglass units were an EggCamper and 2 Escapes.
Thus my experience should help answer your questions.
These non molded units or fiberglass skins are made in about 5 days versus 4 weeks for an Escape. The walls are glued to aluminum studs with Azdel or other material on the interior and the cavity is filled with styrofoam. The walls are all pre-made and are either pressure rolled or vacuum bonded together. The walls are assembled on a frame and the roof and then attached. There are hundreds of screws and welds holding the frames together. Where the walls and ceilings meet are seams, seams that need to be protected from leaks. This is the major issue with the skinned units, roof and seam leaks that will rot your floor and cause mildew and damage. It is a constant battle to seal and reseal the roof and walls seams. Another issue is customization, there is none, the units are pre made and come from the factory as is, with some options you may select. The lifespan can vary for these units, but normally after 10-15 years the upkeep becomes too expensive.

The molded units have an almost indefinite life span, fiberglass will last a long time. There are no seams in an Escape and no wall studs that have screws or wood. There is nothing to rot. Escape will customize the interior as you want and 30-40 years will still be leakproof. If you look over at Fiberglass RV - Powered by vBulletin you will find a fairly large group of fiberglass trailer owners, all molded, Casita, Scamp, Trillium,UHaul are just a few. Some are 40 years old.

So in summary, if you want something that is personalized and something that will last and be trouble free for years, a molded fiberglass is what you want, now you need to decide on which kind/brand you want. Only Escape will customize the interior, the rest do not.
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Old 01-05-2014, 08:28 PM   #8
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Thanks for all your responses.

Thanks Jim much appreciated.

Liz and I have been talking about this and going back and forth on these issues for the past four or more months. (Liz has been balking on the Escape sticker price).

Now if any one close to the Lower Mainland B.C. has a 17b or 19 for sale drop us a line. (By the way, we have cash money ). Some of you moving up to 21s must have a 17b or 19 to sell. (Although I love the idea of tricking out our custom 19 Escape).

Failing that, we'll be heading Chilliwack in the next few weeks to kick some tires at Escape. We'll likely be trying for completion in Marchish 2015 since we've booked most of our 2014 vacation time already.

Larry and Liz ( this post was approved by upper management aka Liz)
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Old 01-05-2014, 08:41 PM   #9
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Search the form archives here, and you will quickly find out there is no such thing as "Leakproof" here or with any brand.
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Old 01-05-2014, 11:07 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by LarryandLiz View Post
I'm given to understand that fiberglass skin are large single sheets of fiberglass type material onto aluminum frame. So no wood in the construction.
I don't think "fiberglass skin" is a common term for RV construction, so the intent is not clear. In the style of moulded fiberglass construction represented by Escape, the fiberglass shell is both the exterior surface and the structure; as Donna mentioned, if the fiberglass is just the skin then something must hold it up, and that's where the rest of the material comes in.

There are various alternatives for the structure under a fiberglass skin (if it is not a self-supporting fiberglass shell).
Most will have some sort of framing, although it now tends to be minimal, perhaps only at the corners and edges of openings - these are the "sticks" of stick-built, and can be aluminum, but have traditionally been (and sometimes still are) wood. Some motorhomes even use steel.
Regardless of the amount of framing, the wall generally needs an inner panel, an outer panel, and some sort of insulation (plus the framing) in-between. If the panels are strong enough and the layers are bonded together (with a rigid insulation layer as a core), this forms a structural sandwich - a better sandwich structure allows less framing. Although some recent designs use only aluminum and fiberglass sheets to form the panels, the traditional and still common composition includes wood (thin plywood) in both inner and outer panels. In many cases, the outside fiberglass sheet is like the siding on a house - it shields the wood from the weather, but has little structural role.

So yes, there are "stick-built" trailers with fiberglass panels over aluminum frames and no wood, but most fiberglass-skinned trailers still have wood in the walls and roof.

Very few RVs (motorhomes or trailers) of any outer skin material are entirely free of wood in the structure, as almost all floors include plywood or OSB (oriented strand board) layers. An Escape has a full fiberglass exterior shell, but the floor structure is primarily the plywood layer (not OSB).
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Old 01-05-2014, 11:17 PM   #11
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The walls are glued to aluminum studs with Azdel or other material on the interior and the cavity is filled with styrofoam...
A pet peeve of mine: Styrofoam™ is a trademark for a specific brand of material, which is made by Dow, is usually coloured blue, and is always extruded polystyrene foam. The foam in an RV wall sandwich is never (as far as I know) genuine Styrofoam, and I've never seen even another brand of extruded foam. It is normally cheap expanded polystyrene beadboard, which is crumbly garbage compared to any brand of extruded foam.

The misuse of the trademark may not be important, but the difference in materials between extruded polystyrene foam and beadboard is significant. Of course, neither is used in an Escape...
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Old 01-06-2014, 02:23 AM   #12
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Search the form archives here, and you will quickly find out there is no such thing as "Leakproof" here or with any brand.
Further to gocamp's comment:

Nature trumps anything "people kind" (TBPC) makes... However, as a rule of thumb, the fewer joints... the better the chances.

And remember, trailers, unlike houses... MOVE!!!

Travel Safe,
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Old 01-06-2014, 04:52 AM   #13
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There's one downfall to owning a small all molded towable. And it's not about the trailer, it's about the owner. These trailers attract attention. The smaller the trailer, the more attention it attracts. If you're an extrovert... you'll love it. If you're an introvert, it may drive you a bit nutz. As every time you stop, whether for fuel or parked in a campground, there will be a good chance at least one person will want to see the inside. Buy a stickie... and you'll not be bothered
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Old 02-03-2014, 08:03 PM   #14
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We made the plunge - 17b

Thanks for all the responses.

We decided on a 17b and have a due date of Oct-6
We'll let it off-gas a few months in Chilliwack and pick it up in the spring.

? Is there an easy way to find examples of 17b build sheets on the Forum

We've enjoyed reading Escape Forum threads and look forward to the Escape building process.

Thanks
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Old 02-03-2014, 09:13 PM   #15
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I see a lot of Winter Texans migrating to and from the Rio Grande valley. Occasionally I'll see a fiberglass skinned RV that has siding loose on the front corner. Generally you will see them trying to hold things together with duck tape just trying to get back home.
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Old 02-03-2014, 09:51 PM   #16
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Linda and I take delivery of our 17B in July and the wait is killing us, even though we haven't even finished our build sheet! As the former owner of a 24' stick built, I'll chime in on the constant battle to keep water out. Had constant problems with seams opening up between the rubber roof and body of the trailer - there's nothing like crawling into your "cozy" stick built in a driving rain only to find water dripping on your bed pillows! It was a major leak that finally did me in with a squishy floor that I almost put my foot through. Got rid of it before the mold and mildew set in. We're very much looking forward to our new Escape!
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Old 02-03-2014, 10:19 PM   #17
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Linda and I take delivery of our 17B in July and the wait is killing us, even though we haven't even finished our build sheet! As the former owner of a 24' stick built, I'll chime in on the constant battle to keep water out. Had constant problems with seams opening up between the rubber roof and body of the trailer - there's nothing like crawling into your "cozy" stick built in a driving rain only to find water dripping on your bed pillows! It was a major leak that finally did me in with a squishy floor that I almost put my foot through. Got rid of it before the mold and mildew set in. We're very much looking forward to our new Escape!
I too had a 24' Sticky before buying my 19. It was developing lots of issues. My saving grace with it was I rarely towed it as it was more of a cabin on our rec land, which is where a lot of the wear to components happens, as their structural integrity is not near as good.
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