Bay Area Podcast – Movie Escape Training Video

1 November 2008

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This is for those interested in viewing the Escape Training/Oreintation

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Bay Area Podcast – How we Picked our RV

9 September 2008

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Ok we decided the trailer needed to be UNDER 18 feet so our 2008 Toyota Highlander could safely pull it. Our towing capacity is 5000 LBS with a tongue weight of 500 LBS. Another HUGH factor was Shiba our dog. She’s 13 and rather big, around 85 lbs. We had to feel comfortable that Shiba could manage inside as well.

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*** The disclaimer ***

Each RV/Travel Trailer has a base model that you add options to, so for our purposes we tried to compare “apples to apples”. Some of the information is approximated, as it’s hard to get the exact measurements. So this is our “best guess”.

The contenders:

  • Oliver Trailer – Fiberglass
  • Casita Traler – Fiberglass
  • Escape Trailer – Fiberglass
  • Airstream Safari Sport – Aluminum
  • Airstream 16ft Bambi – Aluminum
  • Movies of the RV’s/ Travel Trailers

Let’s look at the features:

Casita Deluxe Oliver Legacy Escape Plan “B” AS Safari Sport AS 16Ft Bambi
Ext. Length

17

17

17

16′ 8″

16′ 7″

Ext Height

8′ 11″

8′ 7″

8′ 7″

8′ 11′

9′ 4″

Ext Width

6′ 8″

6′ 6″

6′ 8″

7′ 4″

8

Dry Weight

2385

2400

2200*

2800

2825

Gross Weight

3500

3500

3500

3500

3500

Cargo

1115

1100

1300

700

675

Tongue Weight

365

240

250

300

430

Fresh Water (w/heater)

25

32.5

26

26

23

Gray Water

25

35.5

20

18

none

Black Water

15

18.5

14

20

21

Tank Monitor

no

yes

yes

yes

yes

TV / Hook-up

yes

yes

yes

yes

yes

Dual Pane Window

no

yes

yes

no

no

AC

yes

yes

yes

yes

yes

Outside Shower

yes

yes

yes

door access

door access

Solar Ready

no

yes

yes

yes

yes

Easily Modified

no

yes

yes

no

no

Purchase/Market Price

17,000

30,000

23,000

28,500

37,000

Casita Travel Trailer Review:

As with all the Travel Trailers, the Casita has loyal customers that absolutly LOVE the trailer. Casita sells direct so there’s no dealerships. They have a referral system that rewards customers who spend the time showing their Casita to perspective customers. We found 3 TT (travel trailers) in the Bay Area and looked at 2 separate floor plans, the Freedom and the Spirit. The Casita has all the basics covered, but what we didn’t like was how they covered the walls of the TT. Casita uses carpet as the main way to insulate and “sound proof” the TT.  It was more like “shag” carpeting then a tightly woven fabric and we felt that it would be hard to clean and perhaps would ‘hold” odors. It also lacked a tank monitoring system that for us as being “first time”  RV users made us a tad “nervous” of things backing up. The cost vs. value was high, we thought it was an excellent value. Casita allows for adding options to the TT, but you really can’t deviate or modify the floor plan. We were looking at the Freedom Deluxe with captain chairs and removing the chairs so Shiba would have extra room. Alas we couldn’t completely get past the “shag” carpeting and the lack of a tank monitoring system and decided against the Casita.

Oliver Travel Trailer Review:

A newer company, approximately 2 years making RVs.  We liked the trailer from the onset and both felt it was well made.  It had a clean look, double hulled fiberglass trailer, the inside is gel-coated giving it an “iPod” feel. The Oliver had the largest holding tanks for fresh, grey & black water.  Unfortunately, we felt that is was quite narrow and lacked the storage space. The aisle was only 2 feet wide and when we brought Shiba inside, she couldn’t find the space to physically turn around. It had great features though, concealed battery bay, moulded fiberglass propane protectors and a large refrigerator.  The main drawback was the interior space, which made us feel if we had Shiba inside with us we would be tripping over each other.  The price was on the higher side, but we felt it was “doable”.

Escape Travel Trailer plan “B” Review:

We had the benefit of seeing the Escape last (of the 3 fiberglass models) and basically knew right away that this was the trailer for us.  When we walked into the Escape, we didn’t feel cramped or crowded. The floorplan was a perfect fit for our needs. The Oak cabinets and tan headliner (wall insulation) made the trailer look bright and very warm.  The small dinette area was directly opposite from the “bed” area making it more spacious and allowing for a separate seating area if one person is sleeping and the other would like to read or watch TV. The aisle was large and more than enough space for Shiba to turn around in. We were able to make a modification at the factory to actually increase the floorspace near the doorway (by cutting down the wardrobe size). With that modification we’re confident Shiba can sleep/hang-out there, away from the main “bed” area (and also cooking/refrigerator).  The Escape has adequate tank size and the monitoring system so were confident that it will meet our needs. The bathroom/shower is functional and similar to the other fiberglass models.  The Escape had the best overall cargo capacity and workmanship was excellent through-out. We we’re sold as soon as we took our first step inside!

Airstream Safari Sport Travel Trailer Review:

The Safari Sport is a the entry level “iconic” looking Airstream trailer.  The interior space was nice and it felt open.  Liana “Loved” the bathroom as it took up the back side of the trailer and had a separate shower area. It basically was the nicest feature of the trailer.  On the downside there was just only one area for sleeping/seating.  The seating area converts  into the bed (like all the trailers) but that was it, no other space for seating, so if one person wants to sleep and the other awake… someone will not be a happy camper (no pun intended).  The interior walls were cloth, but a tight woven cloth similar to office ‘Cubicals” material. The tank size was on par with the other trailers and it did have a monitoring system. I thought the pricing was on the high side for what you actually get.

Airstream 16ft Bambi Travel Trailer Review:

Ok, this one we took on faith. We never actually saw a 16ft Bambi, yet we placed an order for one in Texas.  We saw a 19 ft Bambi and liked it, but had reservations on being able to tow it with our Highlander. After many hours on many different Internet Forums, we decided that the 19 ft wasn’t worth the stress of the tow. So we looked at a ton of pictures of the 16 ft Bambi’s and had sales rep measure out the aisles and do all the internal dimensions.  The 16 ft had a separate bed (almost a Full size  bed) on one end and a dinette on the opposite end. It also was 8 ft wide so we were confident that Shiba would have enough space.  The deal breaker was no gray water tank, it had a combined black/gray water tank, which wasn’t going to meet our needs especially if you’re going to do camping w/o hook-ups. It was the most expensive of the Travel Trailers.


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