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Old 11-27-2014, 07:14 AM   #1
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Winter Travel

This years early cold spell got me thinking about my plans for next year when we'll be heading home from the SW in mid/late November and maybe back again late Feb.

Sure would like to avoid a stone cold trailer at the end of the days travels. I've read over on rvdotnet that it's safe to travel with the heat on during the winter, sounds like most that do so set the travel temp to 50F/10C while they head south. Other then high propane use they report no issues. Anyone have experience doing so with their fiberglass camper?

Winter Towing. While I have as much experience driving in the snow as anyone, I've never towed in it, nor have I driven the Rockies in Nov. Does towing a trailer, in my case the 5th wheel, require any special precautions?

Blowing out the lines. If one needed to do so while traveling, will one of the small 12 vdc compressors have the oomph to do the job?
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Old 11-27-2014, 08:02 AM   #2
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Hi: padlin... Last Jan. we towed our 5.0 to Florida. First we watched the Weather Network I75 Conditions/Forecasts and when every city from the north to the south showed sunny... at 6am we made a run for the border!!! The trailer was winterized so we didn't use it for meals but slept in it at Cracker Barrel Restaurants. Put the furnace on before going in for dinner and leaving it on all night. They open at 6am and the coffee is hot!!!
First night Georgetown Ky...second night Macon Ga. We summerized the trailer in Sarasota Fl on the third day. The only hitch in this plan was the memo foam mattress. When cold it's rock hard, and the food we took in a cooler froze solid!!! What can you do with 12 frozen hard boiled eggs?
In Sarasota we met a wonderful couple& family who bought the 5.0 when we ordered the 5.0TA. In May we delivered the 5.0 to Manitoba on the way west to take delivery of the 5.0TA...Everybody wins!!! Can't be better than that!!! Alf
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Old 11-27-2014, 09:15 AM   #3
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Bob,
When I camped in the winter I found some campgrounds with heated water lines. I bought a heated supply hose and went camping, in New York as well as West Virginia, all with snow covered roads. Stopping takes longer and more caution for the other drivers. As long as I have electric and water I'm good to go. Alf's idea of heating the trailer while going to eat upon arrival is a good one. I plan on stopping at Cracker Barrels on my way to Osoyoos and plan my route accordingly.
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Old 11-27-2014, 10:53 AM   #4
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Thanks for the warning, just a little late Alf
QUOTE: Escape Artist - The only hitch in this plan was the memo foam mattress. When cold it's rock hard!

We traveled from home to KS last Thursday, and once here, got the electric heater going for a few hours before I tried getting into bed. Only minus 4 here this morning, much better than at home.

Back on topic to please Jim. When we return here in Jan to head to southern TX we also plan the Cracker Barrel stop, will take Alf's advice and start the furnace before we eat, but since we'll be in Dallas area hopefully won't be too cold.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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Old 12-07-2014, 05:10 AM   #5
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My wife and I have had a 17ft Casita since 1997 and have spent a lot of time in it. We are planning to spend more time on the road beginning in about a year, and are looking for something a little bigger and much better insulated. We've been considering both the Escape (21 or 5.0TA) and Bigfoot (25B25RQ).

We have lots of questions, but for starters, can anyone give us some guidance on insulation in the Escape vs the Bigfoot? We definitely like the idea of heated tanks in the Bigfoot.

Thanks,
Josh
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Old 12-07-2014, 06:52 AM   #6
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Hi Josh, welcome to the forum.

Just my opinion. The Escape is a 3 season trailer, even with it's version of extra insulation, the extra insulated Escape is what I'm talking about here. Like the Casita, it's single wall construction whereas the BF is double wall. The BF has 1.5" of foam insulation (R8) compared to something like .5" (no idea of the R value) on the Escape. While both retain heat better then the Casita, the BF would do it better then the Escape. That's part of what you pay the extra $10k for. I believe the Olivers are double wall too, so if you don't mind spending the money, they would be worth a look too. They were too small for us.

You can get pads on the Escape.
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Old 12-07-2014, 07:01 AM   #7
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Years ago when fuel was cheap, insulation was unheard of. The colder you got, the higher the thermostat setting. With adequate heaters, electric and propane you can keep warm. So it's a trade off, you may pay more for thicker walls but use less fuel to keep it warm.
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Old 12-07-2014, 08:40 AM   #8
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Hi Josh, welcome.

The Bigfoot is built to better withstand a colder winter than Escape, but you do pay for it in the weight, plus (IMHO) unless you go to the 21 or 25 foot model, the layout is terrible. I wish they would just put a smaller wet bath in them. I did look at them very closely when first looking for a trailer. Build quality of the Escape is just as good though.

Seeing that you are in Arizona, I think the Escapes extra insulation would work great for you. It would help on the hot end of things, and for the colder nights you can experience down there. Just don't plan to bring it up here during the coldest parts of winter.
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Old 12-07-2014, 01:01 PM   #9
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Hi Bob we have traveled with the furnace and the fridge running on propane with no problems. It sure is nice to pull in somewhere and its nice and warm in the trailer.

As for the water lines your 12 volt compressor won't have enough air volume to blow them out. I would just winterize with antifreeze and flush the system out once it gets warm.

Cheers Doug
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Old 12-07-2014, 01:11 PM   #10
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Thanks Doug, I didn't think one of the little air pumps would have the umph to do the job, would have been nice though.
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Old 12-07-2014, 01:58 PM   #11
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I wouldn't call a Bigfoot double-wall, because that suggests that there are inner and outer moulded fiberglass shells... and it doesn't have that. Instead, from what I've seen it has a single moulded fiberglass outer shell just like an Escape, but thick foam plus framing and interior panels on the inside rather than Escape's thinner lining material; this allows the Bigfoot to have substantially more insulation. The rigid foam (I think it's polystyrene beadboard) requires the flat wall surfaces of the 1500 and 2500 series Bigfoot shells.

Almost all fiberglass travel trailers use interior cabinetry for support to some extent (including Escape), but Bigfoot has gone as far as bridging across the ceiling with plywood, supported by the wood framing of cabinets. I've read about some people with substantial problems in all this wood (such as rotting due to a roof vent leak), and I would rather not have it.
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Old 12-07-2014, 02:18 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by padlin View Post
Winter Towing. While I have as much experience driving in the snow as anyone, I've never towed in it, nor have I driven the Rockies in Nov. Does towing a trailer, in my case the 5th wheel, require any special precautions?
If the trailer has less traction than the tug, you risk it swinging around behind you... or trying to pass you. This is true whether it is conventional or fifth-wheel, although a fifth-wheel should jerk the tug around less (a leverage difference). If I were to tow in winter very much, I would run winter tires on the trailer (there are all-weather tires which are decent winters and can be left on year-round), but for a one-time thing I would keep the trailer brake setting low and be careful. The reason for the brake setting is that if the trailer tires skid due to inadequate traction for the braking effort, they will lose lateral traction as well and thus you have no control... so avoiding trailer tire skidding is important.

Rocky Mountain highways in November can be anything from bare pavement, to drifting snow on an ice base with no lanes visible, to an ice sheet due to freezing rain... depending on the day. I suggest maintaining schedule flexibility, to avoid feeling trapped into risky driving decisions.
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Old 12-07-2014, 02:58 PM   #13
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Thanks Brian, we now have no hard schedule, wife is due to retire just before the trip in question. After thinking about it we decided we'd just take a southern route to the east coast and northward from there, should the need arise. Heck, we haven't camped in Texas yet.
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Old 12-08-2014, 02:43 PM   #14
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Thanks for welcome and info about insulation

Hi Bob, Jim, and Jim-B,

Thanks for the welcome, Sonya and I both appreciate it.

Good points about the tradeoffs between cost of a heavier trailer with more insulation vs needing a bigger truck and burning more gas to stay warm.

We've seen one used 2003 Bigfoot 25RQ and a new 21ft Escape. I really like the workmanship, lighter weight, and smaller footprint of the Escape, but we "swore" we were not going to get another non-walk-around bed. We like the rear, separate bedroom of the the Bigfoot.

A new Bigfoot RQ came into a dealership in Phoenix a few days ago (pre-ordered) and we are going to go look at that tomorrow. Do any of you know of someone with an Escape 5.0TA in either the Yuma or Phoenix area; we'd really like to take a look at one of those as well.

Thanks,
Josh
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Old 12-08-2014, 02:47 PM   #15
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Contact Escape Trailers and they will put you in touch with someone that is willing to show their unit.
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Old 12-08-2014, 02:54 PM   #16
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Hi Jim,

Did that already, but haven't heard back yet. If I don't hear today or tomorrow, I'll contact again.

Thanks,
Josh
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Old 12-08-2014, 02:55 PM   #17
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As others have pointed out, the 'double wall' insulation/plywood, etc come at a cost, mostly WEIGHT. Comparing the 21ft Escape to the 21 ft Bigfoot, there's an average dry weight difference of over 1400 pounds. That's quite a bit.
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Old 12-08-2014, 02:58 PM   #18
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Yes and considering you have to carry that 1400 lbs all the time, it gets really heavy after awhile.
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Old 12-08-2014, 03:00 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Josh.W View Post
Hi Jim,

Did that already, but haven't heard back yet. If I don't hear today or tomorrow, I'll contact again.

Thanks,
Josh
The owner's map doesn't show any thing close to Yuma, Az
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Old 12-08-2014, 03:04 PM   #20
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Bummer. There is still a chance that snowbirds might be heading this way; don't know if Escape has a way of knowing that. I'll keep my eyes open; Sonya and I have been talking about just dropping by some of the many RV parks in our area and just looking around. That's how we ran into the new 21 footer in Los Angeles last week.

Josh
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