For a Scamp13, I guess that I would really suggest some caution,
calling the Escapees phone number, telling them what your rig is,
and asking a lot of questions before joining.
For us, so far, the Escapees membership has not worked out as well
as we had hoped or expected.
For any question that you ask an engineer, the answer you will usually
get is "It depends." The following might be the "It depends" factors.
Does your Scamp
13 have a bathroom and blackwater tank?
Do you hope to do mostly dry camping
or do you want to have electric,
water, and sewer hookups? Or just electric plus water? Or just electric?
Do you want to set up any sort of shelter other than an awning
to the trailer? (i.e. an EZ-UP, CLAM, etc.)
Are there Escapee parks near your planned destination(s) and, if so,
are they Co-Op parks or Rainbow parks?
Our Scamp13 does not have a bathroom, so we usually use campground
facilities and carry a porta-potti. Because it is a small trailer, we want
the ability to be outdoors and still have some protection from sun, rain,
and bugs. In July of this year, we saw an unexpected 65 mph wind pick
up an awning
, blow it up and over a friend's trailer, and completely
destroy the aluminum poles. During that same storm, our small (6x6 feet)
CLAM Traveler shelter/screen-room/tent stood up to the wind and was
While at Scamp
Camp 2015 in Sebring, we took an afternoon and enjoyed
Norm and Ginny's great hospitality and toured their wonderful Escapee
Co-Op park and home.
Based on that very positive experience, we joined Escapees about a
month later. I'm sorry to report that our experience has not always
Although I didn't realize it when we joined, there are two different types
of Escapee parks; the Co-Op parks (like Norm & Ginny's) and the Rainbow
parks. The rules and by-laws for those two types of parks can apparently
be fairly different.
The actual Escapee parks (both types) and other affiliated parks that
provide discounts to Escapee members are described in the Escapee
(You can download a pdf copy of the Travel Guide at the above link.)
In the Travel Guide, you will find that many of the Co-Op parks have
wording that says "self contained RVs only" and some of them even
add a "no porta-potties" clause. In general, it would appear that the
Co-Op parks might be a bit discriminatory and are much more geared
to the larger motorhome/large-trailer folks who usually stay longer
in one place. (Norm & Ginny's Co-Op park seems to be the exception
to that rule and seems to operate in a way that is a bit more like the
Rainbow parks. In general, I would say that Norm & and Ginny are
far more knowledgeable about all aspects of the Escapees parks and
club than I am and they might have more updated information in the
Some examples of our experience .....
On a recent trip to California, my wife lost a contact lens a couple
weeks into the trip. I needed a place that we could have our home
optical shop send some new contacts where they would hold them
for us until our arrival. I decided that Park Sierra (Coarsegold, Ca.)
was near enough to the Sequoia trees that it might be a good place
to send the contacts and perhaps spend a few days.
What I was told, by the Park Sierra manager, was that we would not
be considered a "self-contained RV " unless we had a blackwater tank.
We did have a fresh water tank, a grey water tank, propane
, a 12v
system, and a never-used porta-potti. However, without a
blackwater tank, he suggested that he could only put us in the
primitive/dry-camping area. He suggested that, if we wanted electric
(and possibly water?) that we should probably go to a KOA down the
road a ways. Since we had planned quick overnight stays and lots
of sightseeing, I had not brought our solar panel
setup and had not
planned on dry camping
. As a result, my wife decided to go the rest
of the trip using some backup single vision glasses (instead of her
) and I did all of the driving for the rest of the trip.
On another occasion, we made reservations at a Rainbow park and
told them that we hoped to set up the CLAM Traveler shelter and
wanted to make sure that was permitted and that our intended
site would have sufficient room. Whoever answered the phone
said that they would make the reservation and would verify with
the manager(s) that it was OK and that they would call us back
at our home phone number if that would be any problem. Having
heard nothing from them in two weeks (no in person calls and no
voicemails left on our answering machine, we set off for the park.
An hour out from the park, we called to confirm our arrival, ask
about office hours and local discount tickets, etc. We were told
that separate shelters were not permitted and that we had no
reservation (it had been canceled?). We asked if we could rent
a spot in the primitive/dry-camping area for a screen shelter
or a tent and they (again, not the mangers) told my wife that
they didn't have/offer that capability. (It said clearly in the park
description in the Travel Guide that they did offer dry camping
and the park map showed the dry camping area on the west side
of the park
.) They suggested that, if we wanted to set up a
screen room, there was a KOA down the road.
At that point, with our daughter and grandchildren already on the
road and approximately an hour behind us, we gave up and found
a Passport America discounted park that provided a site for both
our trailer and a screen room/tent at a similar price point. (When
we returned home, I did review the caller-ID entries and found
an Escapee entry. However, there never was any voicemail left
on our machine that might have told us that our reservation had
not been made or had been canceled
In fairness, Escapees recently sent out a survey of what folks
really wanted in a park and what people valued most in their
RV travels. It seems possible that the Escapees organization
might be reviewing their current rules and operating guidelines
and might be interested in making some improvements?
On our trip to California, we stayed in many Passport America
parks, many Good Sam parks, and one KOA. Many times, we
hooked up to electric only and didn't even bother with city water
connections and/or any added water in the grey tank.
Out of 3 attempts to stay at Escapee parks, we have so far
had one success.
I have already renewed our Good Sam membership for several
more years and will likely renew our Passport America membership.
For now, before considering Escapee renewal, I will wait and see
if there are any changes forthcoming in the Escapee parks operation.
Depending on your needs, I still think that the Escapee membership
might have benefits for some folks and that, overall, they might
be trying to improve their operation.
Clearly, our wants and needs in a camping club membership might
be different than some other folks. So, as always, YMMV.
Good luck with whatever you decide meets your requirements!