Bigfoot or Escape for a Minivan? - Fiberglass RV


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Old 09-04-2008, 04:10 PM   #1
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First off great site, what a resource. My family and I are looking for a 17' trailer, we have had 2 campers in the past, a Davlin and a Bigfoot and now we are thinking trailer. After having a wooden one we would like to stick with fiberglass construction and have narrowed it down to either an Escape or a Bigfoot. Northern lite interest us as well but they don't seem to come up much on the used market. We have not seen any in person either so we are just getting started really. We will be towing it with a 03 grand caravan with the 3.8 liter. Looking for opinions here, is the little extra room offered with the bigfoot worth the weight penalty? Any opinions on which is a better unit? Same level of insulation? Bed size, I am 6'2 but my wife is short and my children are quite young. The ultra light weight is the big attractor with the escape, minivan transmission and all.... Opinions or suggestions are quite welcome.

Mike.
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Old 09-04-2008, 04:30 PM   #2
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.....just two words:
Es cape, LOL!!!
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Old 09-04-2008, 04:37 PM   #3
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and

In all seriousness.....IF you can get away the weekend of Sept 12/14th there is an Egg Basket developing at The Fort Campground waaaaay down here in Ft. Langley as we are having our fall session/meeting of Fiberglass Trailers.

There will be various makes of glass eggs in attendance and Reace from Escape trailers will be there (with his much better looking 'better half') and they have offered to host a tour or their place located in C'wack, hopefully with more detailed plans of their newer line of trailer(s)!!!
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Old 09-04-2008, 06:02 PM   #4
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When I was researching, I found that the newer Bigfoots were heavier than the Escapes. The really old Bigfoots are lighter than the new ones (more in the range of an Escape as I recall) - so it depends on how old you want to go in the used market. The Bigfoots are also wider - that can be a plus or a minus depending on your driveway (mine is really narrow ) or how serious you get about the aerodynamics when towing.

Good luck - if you can make it to the Langley meet, there will be a lot of trailers to examine up close!!
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Old 09-06-2008, 01:23 PM   #5
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Thank you for the info. Went to look at a Bigfoot at the dealer yesterday but they only had twin axle larger ones. Guess we'll wait and watch prices over the winter.
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Old 09-06-2008, 09:40 PM   #6
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Whether you should do it depends on exactly WHICH 2003 3.8 GC you have -- There are apparently three different tow capacities listed, depending on which model you have, and one of them is inadequate. Looks like consultation with your VIN. door label and Owner's Manual is in order to determine this.

Max. Gross Trailer Weight with 3.8 engine:

2000 lbs. (900 kg)
AWD: 3500 lbs.
FWD: 3800 lbs. (1724 kg) with optional Trailer Tow Preparation Group

Remember, it isn't just horsepower, it's transmission, rear axle ratio, rear axle housing, engine cooling, transmission cooling, suspension, brakes, etc. It's more than just power to get it moving, it's being able to steer it and stop it in adverse conditions.
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Old 09-06-2008, 11:04 PM   #7
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How many in your family? the present models of Northern Lite would be good for two persons. The older models , which have the pop-out bed, like a hybrid trailer would accomodate more than two.

If you are interested in something like that I can contact friends who are connected to the company to see if there are any older used models for sale.
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Old 09-09-2008, 11:40 PM   #8
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First off great site, what a resource. My family and I are looking for a 17' trailer, we have had 2 campers in the past, a Davlin and a Bigfoot and now we are thinking trailer. After having a wooden one we would like to stick with fiberglass construction and have narrowed it down to either an Escape or a Bigfoot. Northern lite interest us as well but they don't seem to come up much on the used market. We have not seen any in person either so we are just getting started really. We will be towing it with a 03 grand caravan with the 3.8 liter. Looking for opinions here, is the little extra room offered with the bigfoot worth the weight penalty? Any opinions on which is a better unit? Same level of insulation? Bed size, I am 6'2 but my wife is short and my children are quite young. The ultra light weight is the big attractor with the escape, minivan transmission and all.... Opinions or suggestions are quite welcome.

Mike.
Hello Mike:

My wife,Paddy and I have towed an Escape 17' for 30.000 miles with a Tacoma V6 (3.8 litre, I think). We have been in all weather situations from 40C to -10C. We have towed from Mexico to Inuvik and from Vancouver Island to Labrador. The Escape 17 did not let us down. At -10C, in Grand Canyon, everything froze except for the hot water tank. As the weather warmed up, things thawed out and we were in good shape, no leaks, no problems. In Vale, Oregon, we had 41C and no airconditioning, the Maxi fan kept us comfortable, but it was working hard.

I do feel the Escape 17' was a practical weight for the Tacoma and anything heavier would have given us problems. We had a manual transmission, and on occassion could smell the clutch as we tried to back into a particularly difficult site. An automatic transmission is a gift when it comes to towing but you must be aware of the towing capacity of the vehicle you are driving.

At present we are towing an Escape 5.0 5th wheel. It weighs in at about 3400 pounds when fully loaded. Our towing vehicle, a Toyota Tundra, is rated at 7500 lbs. I am quite happy towing at 50% of the rated capacity.

The Bigfoot is an excellent unit and well designed for winter but you pay a hefty price in weight. With out 17' we found a "cube" heater kept us comfortable in all the winter situations. If 110V was not available, then the propane furnace cut in and kept us just as comfortable.

I would suggest you try the bed in the Escape to see if it will fit your 6'2" frame (it should). Other than that, I think you will find the Escape 17' will provide you with many smiles per mile.

Stay cozy,

Ian Waymark
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Old 11-01-2008, 08:12 AM   #9
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I've been looking at both also and it seems even the lightest of the newer Bigfoots are well heavier than the 17' Escape... as regarding towing with a minivan. I have an '05 Honda Odyssey (3500# tow rating 'when properly equipped') and have pretty much decided the Escape is the way to go for me, if you're still collecting opinions...
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Old 11-08-2008, 04:19 PM   #10
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First off great site, what a resource. My family and I are looking for a 17' trailer, we have had 2 campers in the past, a Davlin and a Bigfoot and now we are thinking trailer. After having a wooden one we would like to stick with fiberglass construction and have narrowed it down to either an Escape or a Bigfoot. Northern lite interest us as well but they don't seem to come up much on the used market. We have not seen any in person either so we are just getting started really. We will be towing it with a 03 grand caravan with the 3.8 liter. Looking for opinions here, is the little extra room offered with the bigfoot worth the weight penalty? Any opinions on which is a better unit? Same level of insulation? Bed size, I am 6'2 but my wife is short and my children are quite young. The ultra light weight is the big attractor with the escape, minivan transmission and all.... Opinions or suggestions are quite welcome.

Mike.
Hi Mike,
Pete and I recently bought our second Escape (17'). We couldn't be happier with the towability, the quality, and all of the features that we were able to select ourselves. We have owned numerous trailers over the years, including several Bigfoots (or is it Bigfeet?). We had our previous Escape (purchased in 2004, #33) and then decided to try another Bigfoot. The difference in towing (it was also a 17' model) was huge! We have a V8 4-Runner and there was plenty of power, but we could definitely feel the load! We also didn't like the width of the Bigfoot compared to the Escape. We never could find mirrors that we liked; they all vibrated too much! Now, with our new Escape, no additional mirrors are needed! We love it; hardly feels like we are towing anything. The Equalizer hitch helps greatly. Reace continues to make improvements on his trailers; he listens to his customers and incorporates many of their suggestions and ideas. Pete is as particular as a person could be, and he could not be happier with our new Escape. The quality is impressive. The larger dinette bed is actually longer than the dinette/bed in the 17' Bigfoot! Check the specs; the Bigfoot bed backs up to a cubby and that cuts down on the overall length of the bed; the Escape bed is actually longer.
Good luck in your search! We would be happy to answer any specific questions you might have!

Linda and Pete, Happy Escape-ees!
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Old 11-13-2008, 09:59 PM   #11
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As a mechanic,
I would recommend an auxiliary transmission cooler for your rig, as well as ensuring your brakes are up to snuff.

Chryco transmissions do not have a bulletproof reputation. older ones often self destructed in normal use, the newer do seem better. If you call your local dealer with your vin number they can likely tell you what towing capacity you have in your rig.
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