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Old 08-07-2022, 02:02 PM   #1
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Longevity

When I joined the forum last spring I said that I had ruled out Oliver because of its price and was looking at either the 19 or one of the 21s. I have since looked at a 19 and a 21C, as well as an Oliver. I should have avoided the latter because it only made things harder. The Oliver has a noticeably better build to me (and my wife and I kind of like the boat-like fiberglass interior), but Iím not sure it warrants a 50+ percent price increase over a similarly optioned Escape, even when I factor in using the Oliver year round and the Oliver factory being less than a dayís drive. Neither manufacturer has been around all that long, so itís hard to find information on long term use. KV Group buying out Escape a few years back complicates things as well.

I know itís like asking Tundra owners what they think about their trucks, but, for all you Escape owners who have had the same trailer for several years and/or have towed it thousands of miles, how have things held up? I donít care so much about components, but, rather, how has what Escape builds (the shell, the cabinets, plumbing, electrical, etc.) help up? I would also be interested in how the frame and axles have faired. Thanks for any information youíre willing to share.

Signed, Analysis Paralysis and wife, Over Thinker
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Old 08-07-2022, 02:21 PM   #2
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I've always been impressed with Oliver quality, and was originally attracted by the molded-fiberglass interior (as well as exterior), though a used Casita was what all we needed at the time.


But when we decided to sell our Casita last year, we quickly ruled the Oliver Elite II out, because of the layout. By then we wanted a four-person dinette we could use as a second bed. The Elite II has a twin-bed option, but the beds are only 31" wide, and the rest of the trailer is essentially a longer Casita Spirit 17.


If you wanted a 4-season molded-fiberglass camper, then Oliver or Bigfoot are your only choices. Bigfoots are made more like Escapes (but larger, with double hulls), so if the internal molding were a primary factor, and if you liked the Oliver layout(s), then maybe that's the way to go.


Otherwise, I suggest Escape is the better buy. Nicely-appointed interiors, better-made than almost all stickies, and more layout options.


Personally, I'd like a dry bath, and until Escape gets their 23' into production, Bigfoot is the only fiberglass game in town.
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Old 08-07-2022, 03:04 PM   #3
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One difference is that Oliver can still do after-care for you, and Escape really has none any more. If Oliver is closer to you and if you have room in the budget for one, I think they are an awesome choice.
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Old 08-07-2022, 03:12 PM   #4
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....but Iím not sure it warrants a 50+ percent price increase over a similarly optioned Escape,
Will you make 50 percent more memories or have 50 percent more fun?


Personally, I'd rather save that 50 percent and apply it toward fuel, site fees, better groceries and maybe more 'touristy' stuff. Like the bus tours through some of the national parks or boat rides down the Snake River, etc. YMMV
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Old 08-07-2022, 03:26 PM   #5
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One difference is that Oliver can still do after-care for you, and Escape really has none any more. If Oliver is closer to you and if you have room in the budget for one, I think they are an awesome choice.

That is a point. Oliver I believe will do annual maintenance for you if you bring it in, which AFAIK Escape does not offer. On the other hand, if you were not traveling a lot, there really isn't much maintenance needed on either an Oliver or an Escape.


Edit: You did say you were planning (?) to use your trailer "year round." Full-time? In that case, maybe factory support within a day's drive could be important.
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Old 08-07-2022, 04:34 PM   #6
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Either one will work

I had a 1996 Casita 16 foot rig, sold 3 years ago for more than I paid. I did a lot of restoration on it, but Jez, itís 26 years old and still on the road.
If longevity is your concern, either or any fiberglass rig will outlast you.
Donít overthink this. Get what meets your needs and style of travel and ohÖyour pocketbook.
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Old 08-07-2022, 04:47 PM   #7
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.... for all you Escape owners who have had the same trailer for several years and/or have towed it thousands of miles, how have things held up? I donít care so much about components, but, rather, how has what Escape builds (the shell, the cabinets, plumbing, electrical, etc.) help up? I would also be interested in how the frame and axles have faired. Thanks for any information youíre willing to share.
We ordered and picked up 9/17/2014; almost eight years ago. We've towed at least 80,000 miles in that period with two different tow vehicles. The worst thing we had happen after driving 25 miles on a dirt road were both refrigerator doors coming off. That was MY fault and a yoga strap ensured that never happened again. We've had a couple(2) of hinges on the cabinet doors fail in the last two years so I am changing the rest out now as a preventative measure.

I did replace the brakes/hubs two years ago and even then there was life left. The frame has some minor rust spotting which I should take care of, however the axles are original and the tires wear evenly. Just bought our 4th set of tires- the second set of Goodyear Endurance. They didn't wear any better than the Maxxis, yet my tire guy says they're only about $20 more each than the Chinese tires he does sell a lot of for local contractors.

Never had an electrical problem and the solar, inverter, heater, hot water heater are original and never any problems.

Do many people tow a Legacy Elite II with a Tundra? The few I see rolling down the highway all have been 3/4 - one ton trucks. Definitely a much heavier trailer.
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Old 08-07-2022, 06:55 PM   #8
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We have had our escape 21 since 2017. The circuit board for the max fan replaced this year by my husband and new seal in bathroom vent are the only repairs needed so far. We travel about 60 days a year, just about moving every day. I am very happy with the quality of our escape. We live within a hour from Escape Industries and I do wish they had a service department. I did email escape about the circuit board and they emailed back the next day with part number and where to order it from. JK
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Old 08-07-2022, 07:06 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Bryan in NC View Post
".... for all you Escape owners who have had the same trailer for several years and/or have towed it thousands of miles, how have things held up? I don’t care so much about components, but, rather, how has what Escape builds (the shell, the cabinets, plumbing, electrical, etc.) help up? I would also be interested in how the frame and axles have faired."
We have owned our 21C for 3+ years. We had about 5000 miles on it and this year we added about 7000 miles, with many of those miles on the rough gravel roads of Alaska and the Yukon. How has it held up? Very well! The shell is very strong but we did notice a few tiny cosmetic nicks in the gel coat in the lower front sections from the gravel roads. Barely noticeable. Thus, we decided to get a rock guard on our bumper, just for peace of mind for our journey home from Alaska. On that note, we noticed others Oliver travelers in Alaska that also had a rock guard on their tow vehicle so they must feel the same way we did. Better safe than sorry... We were worried about the wheel well dents from rocks but so far they are fine. Escape makes the fiberglass thicker there and it obviously helps.

Cabinets? Ours are extremely well made, all symmetrical, look great and fit well together. However, they use 'industry standard' hinges and latches and we have had to replace or upgrade several of them. We had no problems with them in the lower 48 but after miles and miles on rough gravel roads up north, a quick trip to the Ace Hardware store and a screwdriver was all that was needed to remedy this.

The year we got our trailer in 2019, they redesigned the plumbing and we unfortunately had a grey tank leak (when it was full). We notified ETI of this while it was still under warranty and they took care of it and fixed it for free, at the factory. ETI has since fixed the plumbing design for new trailers. As long as you notify them of any problems before the warranty expires, we have found ETI to be very professional and helpful. Even after the warranty expires, they still offer their support in the parts department no matter how old your Escape is which we have found very useful (like sending links for things that they use or recommend). For routine maintenance, we found a nice local RV mechanic.

Electrically, everything has been safe and fine for us. No complaints here. However, we think Olivers may have the upper hand in this category. Every ETI trailer is built so uniquely there is no official electrical grid to help with aftermarket mods. However, there are many on this forum that are electrical gurus and are very helpful in this arena.

Our frame and axels have help up great. The steal frame, however, has the thinnest coat of black paint on it. Again, easy remedy with a can of spray paint. ETI uses 'industry standard' tires which seem to work well for some, but did not work well for us (several balding spots). If good strong well made tires are a priority for you (like they are for us) then you may want to upgrade your ETI tires sooner than later.

All this to say, we absolutely love our Escape and trust it to be our 'forever trailer'. In Alaska, we came across some very friendly Oliver owners and one gave us a nice detailed tour of their Oliver. Very nice! They loved it. The only complaint they had was with condensation. She said the walls sweat a lot at night when they used the furnace. (We crack a window and keep the Maxfan on low for ventilation. Works well.) But boy, those Ollies sure do have a lot of nice bells and whistles, but at a $$$. Bottom line in our opinion, you'll probably be very happy with either an Escape or Oliver. Both are very well made. Fiberglass is the way to go! But Olivers, being double hulled and a true 4 season unit, are heavier so you'll probably need a beefier TV for it. If Olivers are in your price point, then do check out the Bigfoot trailers, as well. Bigfoots are very nice, too. I've come across several campers who lament selling their Bigfoot fiberglass rigs. Now that says a lot! Hope our (much too long) 2 cents helps. Good luck and enjoy the quest, -Bea
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Old 08-07-2022, 07:48 PM   #10
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We started with a Casita 16 Spirit Deluxe, and camped all over the west with it for a few years. Decided we needed more room, better bed, bigger water tanks, better/bigger fridge, those were the highest priorities.

Olivers have very good insulation, are one of the only true 4-season FG trailers, but are quite narrow inside.

We considered a Bigfoot 25' with the walkaround queen, but at the time we had a smaller truck, and didn't see ourselves getting a 3/4 ton or larger truck. The Escape 21C was our compromise, and we're still very happy with it, even though we ended up getting an F250.
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Old 08-08-2022, 08:21 AM   #11
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After 9 years and 40K miles of towing, including places maybe it wasn't so smart to go, I have had no basic build issues or concerns of any kind. No cracks, no structural failures. When the time comes eventually to sell it I will easily get a price much higher than I paid. Best move ever made.
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Old 08-08-2022, 09:00 AM   #12
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After 9 years and 40K miles of towing, including places maybe it wasn't so smart to go, I have had no basic build issues or concerns of any kind. No cracks, no structural failures. When the time comes eventually to sell it I will easily get a price much higher than I paid. Best move ever made.
@Myron ..hey you and Bernie make it through the storm okay?
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Old 08-08-2022, 09:06 AM   #13
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We survived some nasty wind storms. Monsoon season right now...so it ain't over 'till it's over.
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Old 08-08-2022, 10:45 AM   #14
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My 21C is still hanging in there - 40,677.6 miles and 951 nights in the trailer since August, 2017. Before that 86,726.2 miles & 1090 nights in a 2011 17B. Other than the frame recall on the 17 (fully paid for by Escape) no structure problems.
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Old 08-08-2022, 11:35 AM   #15
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Any well designed and constructed molded fiberglass trailer is going to give you great longevity with proper care and maintenance as compared to stick built trailers. There are still Boler's on the road from the late 60's! The solid molded shell, steel frame and wood cabinetry are a great foundation. As manufacturers have added fancier options to these trailers over the years you will find that most of the issues will be with third-party components within the trailer (fridge, furnace, A/C, MaxxFan, cooktop). If you plan to do any modifications the single hull of the Escape's are probably more friendly in this regard. Oliver's are nice trailers but I personally find it hard to justify the substantial increase in cost versus any current Escape. Although if you wait for an Escape 23 the costs compared to Oliver may be comparable!
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Old 08-08-2022, 03:37 PM   #16
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I've had my 19 since August 2018, spent over 100 nights in it, and towed it 1,000s of miles, including a fair amount on rough, dirt roads. So far I've had only minor issues, including 2 cabinet hinges that failed, an electrical outlet that dettached, a battery cable that corroded and broke, and the digital thermostat has been a bit glitchy. I'm not a handy person in general, but every single one of these issues was a quick and easy fix, even for me.

All systems on the trailer have worked flawlessly, so far (knock on wood!!). I am well aware based on posts on the this forum what can go wrong, but I've had nothing seriously bad happen, at least not yet. I have not replaced the tires or dual 6-volt batteries and have done wheel bearing maintenance once (replaced and repacked the bearings). Close inspection of the tires indicates I may need to replace them sooner than later however, probably after this camping season.

The biggest investment in time and effort for maintenance has been keeping a good coat of wax on the fiberglass exterior, particularly on the roof as my trailer is stored outside.

As others have said, buying their Escape was a great decision, and it has been for me as well. It has provided me with so much joy, and as a lifelong backpacker, river runner, and tent camper, it has been an easy transition to what has been a huge step up in comfort.

So yeah, no regrets on buying a small travel trailer, and none buying an Escape. I couldn't afford an Oliver or Bigfoot anyway, and I'm 110% happy with what I have.

Hope this helps!
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Old 08-08-2022, 04:15 PM   #17
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Thank you all so much for taking the time to respond. Your comments have been very insightful and we can certainly tell how happy you are with your trailers. We're going to try to make a decision between the two this week. Given the reliability of your trailers, I think it's going to come down to how much importance we put on Oliver's cold weather capability, close proximity of their factory to our house, and them still being a family run business. Wish us luck!
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Old 08-08-2022, 06:32 PM   #18
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Thank you all so much for taking the time to respond. Your comments have been very insightful and we can certainly tell how happy you are with your trailers. We're going to try to make a decision between the two this week. Given the reliability of your trailers, I think it's going to come down to how much importance we put on Oliver's cold weather capability, close proximity of their factory to our house, and them still being a family run business. Wish us luck!
Good luck, do say hi to your brother John Oliver for meÖ
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Old 08-17-2022, 10:20 AM   #19
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Keep in mind the older trailers were built by someone else (former owners).

Not that I expect any problems with the build. My first trailer was a fiberglass Campster built in 1970. I had one minor problem with the leaf springs, no leaks, no axle problems, (had no brakes) and the only real ongoing issue in the 9 years I used it was the wiring for the lights. I think the lack of leaks and the lighter weight of the fiberglass trailers wards off many of the potential problems.

The downside I see to newer trailers (besides the service issue) is that the component manufacturers are getting very sloppy. My 2011 Escape 15 had limited systems (no plumbing, no AC, no solar) but the fridge and stove worked great as did the heater and fan through 2020 when I sold it. I've heard of problems with all of these in recent years, on new trailers. They can sell anything they make so they aren't very motivated to make things better and I'm sure they are also suffering from supply chain and personnel issues. So if Oliver is doing better quality control that might be a plus.
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Old 08-17-2022, 01:40 PM   #20
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We sold a 2007 Escape 17B in 2018 after 5 years of ownership.

The trailer still looked new, the frame was good, the body was good, a few spider cracks in the shell near the back rear but when I waxed it up, the trailer looked brand new. The interior was pretty good. The past owners used those sticky hooks and damaged some of the paneling but all was in good shape. Our 9Ē x 9Ē bath vent started to leak and the fixed window started to leak at the glass seal, so I replaced the vent, resealed the window and completely resealed the roof.

In hind sight, we should have kept it.
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