Bigfoot & Escape 21 owners experience with rodents & insects in cabin - Fiberglass RV



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Old 05-17-2019, 05:26 PM   #1
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Name: Jane
Trailer: Bigfoot 19 ft
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Bigfoot & Escape 21 owners experience with rodents & insects in cabin

I am trying to decide between an Escape 21 or Bigfoot 21.

One major problem experienced by my stick trailer friends is rodent and insect (usually ants) infestation within the main cabin. Last month, one of my stick trailer training partners told her trailer is infested with field mice. As I have camped with my BF 19 trailer in open fields while on dog training grounds, I added this issue to my list of concerns when trailer shopping.

My impression: One big advantage of a BF 21 (4 seasons) is that rodents & other nasty pests have a hard time getting into the main cabin. That’s because the bottom of the trailer - including all plumbing pipes - is sealed. And the outside cubby holds (except power cord) don’t lead into the main cabin.

I am not sure if the same can be said for Escape 21.

And, keeping an open mind, I concede I may be wrong in assuming Bigfoots are pest proof.

So my question is what experience have Escape & BF 21 owners had with pests?
What did you do about it? We’re you able to ID & seal off their entry point(s)?

I am particularly interested in hearing from people who have owned both Escape & Bigfoot trailer.

Once again, this is a timely thread as I am trying to make a decision.

Thanks
Jane P.
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Old 05-17-2019, 06:08 PM   #2
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Name: bill
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Regardless of brand, get a detachable power cord so you no longer have the mouse hole. Its an option on the Escape, no idea on BF.
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Old 05-17-2019, 07:32 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by thrifty bill View Post
Regardless of brand, get a detachable power cord so you no longer have the mouse hole. Its an option on the Escape, no idea on BF.
Thanks Bill,
I have no idea if brand new Bigfoot has that option. But it does appear to be an aftermarket product. BC Dave has added it to his 1999 BF 21.

In fact, I pretty much decided to add a detachable power cord to my BF 9 if I keep it another season.
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Old 05-18-2019, 02:04 AM   #4
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I can't speak for the 21, but I've had relatively little in the way of insect troubles in a 19' Escape so far (and no rodents). I did get the detachable power cord option specifically so there wouldn't be a hole that critters and hot/cold air could pass through. I think the 21' might have a battery vent hole on the side, but that should be about the only difference. They're pretty well-sealed, to the point that you have to make sure to open a window when you run a vent. From the little I've seen of the Bigfoots, the Escape (especially with the spray foam option) is actually the more sealed-up of the two underneath.

The one time I have had trouble with something getting in, it was gnats small enough to fit through the screens on the windows. That'll be pretty universal across models/brands, though.
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Old 05-18-2019, 03:28 PM   #5
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Name: Henry
Trailer: BigFoot
Tennessee
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I have a 2019 BF 25RQ. The power cord is detachable. There are no holes underneath. No matter what you decide on, check the fitment of the entry door at the bottom corners. Open the door, and leave it open. Then latch the screen door. Now check again, bottom corners of the screen door.

Check the Refrigerator vents, put screens in them such as these (Amazon):
Camco Flying Insect Screen for Dometic Refrigerator Vents - Protects from Flying Insect Nests, 20” x 1-1/2” Stainless Steel Mesh, RS 600 - (3 Pack) (42149)

These must be sewed in with wire, small gauge solid copper works well, Aluminum is ok also. I have done this.

I placed a SS screen in the stove hood vent on the outside, more for flying insects but will deter mice also. Don't laugh, every hole must be plugged.

The other places are the air vents for black and gray water tanks; don't know what to do about these.

Lastly the AC. Again, don't know what to do, just hope they don't drop from a tree unto your roof.

We took a tour of the Escape factory. Toured the Oliver factory. Toured the Airstream factory. After which we bought a new BF. Other than the above mentioned, there are no holes in the BF.
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Old 05-19-2019, 08:53 AM   #6
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Place a nylon over the vent stacks.
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Old 05-19-2019, 07:37 PM   #7
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Trailer: Bigfoot 19 ft
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rzrbrn View Post
I have a 2019 BF 25RQ. The power cord is detachable. There are no holes underneath. No matter what you decide on, check the fitment of the entry door at the bottom corners. Open the door, and leave it open. Then latch the screen door. Now check again, bottom corners of the screen door.

Check the Refrigerator vents, put screens in them such as these (Amazon):
Camco Flying Insect Screen for Dometic Refrigerator Vents - Protects from Flying Insect Nests, 20” x 1-1/2” Stainless Steel Mesh, RS 600 - (3 Pack) (42149)

These must be sewed in with wire, small gauge solid copper works well, Aluminum is ok also. I have done this.

I placed a SS screen in the stove hood vent on the outside, more for flying insects but will deter mice also. Don't laugh, every hole must be plugged.

The other places are the air vents for black and gray water tanks; don't know what to do about these.

Lastly the AC. Again, don't know what to do, just hope they don't drop from a tree unto your roof.

We took a tour of the Escape factory. Toured the Oliver factory. Toured the Airstream factory. After which we bought a new BF. Other than the above mentioned, there are no holes in the BF.
Thanks Rzrbrn,
Great post! I will save your suggestions.

Out of curiousity, why did you decide on a BF? What's your gas milage?

My main concern with a BF vs the Escape is the weight difference. Money is an issue as well, but I'm in the market for a mid-late 2000 BF 21. As a BF 19 owner, the floor plan of the BF 21 and storage locations appeals to me.

I'm not seeing any complaints regarding pests from either BF or Escape owners. But the concensus seems to be that the BFs are better constructed to control access to the cabin.

Jane P.
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Old 05-19-2019, 08:39 PM   #8
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Trailer: Escape 21 & Jeep GC 5.7 (Previous 2012 Casita FD17 & 2010 Audi Q5)
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Jane,

I'm not sure if anyone mentioned the Camco screen for the gas furnace vents; I had a pair on our previous trailer.

If you read this thread on the Escape forum, you might just give up RVing!
How to deal with night light pollution and night critters - Escape Trailer Owners Community
It seems each region has its pests. I seem to recall tales of wasps in Texas. I believe folks were working to screen the rooftop AC in that case.

We had a ground squirrel investigate the interior of our Casita at Memaloose State Park. Our neighbor was kind enough to alert us to the situation. The issue here was "operator error"; we had just arrived and walked over to the bluff to view the Columbia River, leaving the trailer door wide-open. The ground squirrels immediately sent over a scout to assess the situation.
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Old 05-20-2019, 03:30 AM   #9
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Name: Henry
Trailer: BigFoot
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Mike, I use SS screens on the furnace vents, this is very important for wasps. I forgot to list that. I also used aluminum tape to put a small screen inside the hot water tank enclosure and on the battery storage door of the casita. I use a dog flea collar in the propane storage box of the Big Foot to keep wasps away, seems to work. While there is not detectable propane smell by humans, wasps are much more sensative and are inclined to build nests in such areas.

I gave up on the AC. For a while I had it covered and a foam tube framed in around the bottom, but that was only during storage. For me the only thing to do is to take the top off the AC to inspect and remove dirt daubers and wasps nests. Just go very slowly and carefully. The AC shroud touched the fins on the Casita Coleman and bent them a little. Have not had the Dometic AC cover off the BF yet.
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Old 05-20-2019, 04:18 AM   #10
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Jane P., We decided on a BF 25RQ because of the quality of the unit both inside and out. After going through a number of Escapes and touring the factory I found the fiberglass shell on the BF is thicker, the wood work is much better quality, and the chassis is stronger. The BF is generator ready, that is the generator is located onboard the trailer; neither Escape nor AS had this design. After long and careful inspection at the dealership just prior to purchase, we only found one defect and that was after we got it home. The table had a minor flaw. The company sent us a new table, immediately. We could not find other defects.

The Airstream quality and fit was subpar. Although AS people do not want to admit it, the AS is really a stick built trailer. It utilizes a tubular aluminum frame to which the skin is riveted; that is stick built in my book. They advertise that it is all made by hand, which is not true they use computerized router to cut the window hole for instance, we saw this in the factory. While this is superior to my way of thinking it should not be advertised as "hand made". Many of the AS components are made solely for the AS, which is both good and bad. Some of the exterior fixtures are aluminum colored but are actually plastic. The windows did not have screens, but did fold out from the bottom, which allows great air flow during a rain: So, good airflow and great bug ingress. We only looked at new AS units and it was easy to see the defects, which the dealership assured us they would correct. The point here is that the defects were numerous and obvious, which suggests poor quality control. Also person must take great care when walking on the roof, and must step only where the skin is riveted to the frame, because the skin is so thin and soft if stepped on will easily dent, according to the dealer: Dime size hail will damage the skin.

I pull my trailers with a 2011 Tundra 5.7L 4x4 with towing package. I have a leer cap and a bed slide, and the payload is maxed when we travel. Pulling the 2013 Casita over 30K miles I averaged 11.7 mpg. I have only pulled the unloaded BF from Atlanta to Nashville. This route included going over a long 6% grade on I-24. I averaged 11.5 mpg. All calculated manually, not by the computer on the truck. When loaded I hope I get 11.0 mpg. The BF, without WDH, tows better than the Casita with an Andersen WDH. I was not expecting this, because the Casita pulls very well. My Casita empty is about 2400lbs. Loaded 3550lbs. The BF is 4863 empty, GVWR is 7500 lbs, which I expect we will be close to when loaded. The Tundra has a max tow rating of 7700lbs (it is 4x4, which lowers that tow rating). I really don't want to buy another truck, but it may be too much for the Tundra, just based on the numbers. Hopefully real world with prove differently.

Much prefer 4x4, have had to use it at least once every season. One time in a high quality RV resort we had to park in the overflow area on grass. Dew on the grass in the morning required 4x4 just to move up a slight hill. Usually though we do primitive CG's or boondock, the 4x4 is sometimes needed.
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Old 05-20-2019, 05:20 AM   #11
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One reason we purchased an Oliver over other fiberglass trailers was because of the quality and rodent free construction. In a YouTube video they even talk about that and they say the only way rodents can get in is thru the door and you have to let them in. Oliver has nothing inside there fiberglass design for rodents to eat, so that's also a plus. All being said, you should inspect your trailer from time to time and look for problem areas that need given attention.

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Old 05-20-2019, 07:36 AM   #12
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Trailer: BigFoot
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I forgot to mention we visited the Oliver factory also. The Oliver was not available when we bought our Casita: We would have bought the Oliver had it been. Quality is superior even to the BF. It would have made going to the BF much harder. I really like the fiberglass furniture, the narrowness of the trailer and the bright white interior. However, the O is simply too small for us at this time.

Also the O has an inner and outer hull. When we visited the factory I walked over to the area where they were doing warranty work and repairs (apparently I was not supposed to do that, the guide came and retrieved me...). They actually had to cut a square hole in the lower side of the Oliver to access water lines and whatever. They could not make repairs because of the double hull; wires, connections and plumbing all run between the hull. This is a real problem for me since I like to do as much of my own work as possible. So it had two insurmountable issues. However, we would have bought an Oliver had they been available at the time we purchased the Casita. But would still have wound up with a BF due to needing a bigger size.

We also visited the Scamp factory because of the fifth wheel, prior to buying the BF. It is not designed for us.
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Old 05-21-2019, 02:24 PM   #13
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Name: karen
Trailer: 2018 Casita Spirit Deluxe
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RZRBRN: thanks for great insight about Bigfoots vs Casita. I have a 17' SD, 2018 and have in mind that if I thought I would spend even more time in it, considering a Bigfoot 21' corner bed (just me and dogs) would be something to do.

Jane: I am just leaving an RV'ing Women rally and my good friends have an older Bigfoot 21' and after having stored it for the winter only now discovering that a mouse got in. He/she had enlarged the hole around the electric cord (seems to be the common entrance point) as they had left it connected to electricity for the whole winter and got in that way.

So, as best as I can tell, if one addresses that entrance point and does all one can to cover up propane appliance outside access, all should be well to the greater degree.

thanks,

- karen
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