ParkLiner Concerns from a previous owner - Fiberglass RV
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Old 05-12-2013, 11:54 AM   #1
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ParkLiner Concerns from a previous owner

There have been numerous threads on this forum concerning some current problems that are showing up with the ParkLiner trailer. While there are many things about the ParkLiner that make it a unique entry into the molded fiberglass travel trailer market, I feel an obligation to mention a few concerns that we had that ultimately contributed to selling this trailer. Some of these issues below have been addressed on other threads, but these are all issues that we personally had with our trailer.

I have two reasons for listing all of these specifics in one post: 1. those considering the purchase of a ParkLiner can be better informed before their purchase, 2. Current owners of ParkLiners need to know that there may be some safety issues that ought to be fixed. Hopefully, many of these issues will be (or perhaps, have been) resolved in upcoming ParkLiner trailers.

I feel strongly that not only should Chandler/ParkLiner be informing current owners of ParkLiners of any potential safety hazards, he should also take full responsibility for making sure that these problems are fixed. Based on our experience, I am not so sure that this will happen.

1. Our model was an early version of the ParkLiner; our goal after purchasing it was to bring it up to the standard of more current models. While Chandler, the owner of the company, agreed to help us with this process (he said that he would give us instructions, some components that we needed, and templates for some of the fixes), the reality was that we waited for months to receive of few of the items and for instructions that never came. This was an indication to us that the service component, so important in any new company (travel trailer or otherwise), was lacking and it would be an ongoing and frustrating issue for us.

2. We had concerns about a number of ParkLiner components that did not seem up to the standard of other current molded fiberglass travel trailers. Some examples were:
  • Battery that was not in a closed, vented (to the outside) and secured container (despite recommendations of the battery manufacturer; Pete did some research due to his own questions about this set-up and found this forum in which a tech person who works for Optima explains the necessity for enclosing and venting batteries that are inside a vehicle or an RV; here is the link: Battery Vent? - evolutionm.net )
  • Torsion axle that was welded to the frame (in spite of the fact that no other current trailer manufacturer that we are aware of does this; current standard promotes attaching axle with brackets, not welding to the frame of the trailer; there are many potential problems that could result due to this set-up)
  • Gray water tank mounted to the underside of the trailer with plumber's tape, not the typical brackets, bolts, and secure straps found in most travel trailers; a full tank is heavy!
  • Interior wiring, plumbing, and gas lines exposed and not secured or protected from the jostling of items stored in cabinetry while traveling, thus creating a potential of loose connections over time
  • Wheel wells not proportional to size of tires (not enough room for movement of tires and wheels during travel); Pete pointed this out to me prior to any of the threads that now identify this as an actual issue in PL trailers
  • No drain on water tank (most, if not all other travel trailers/RVs that we know of, have a drain on the water tank)
  • Escape hatch is not located in an area that would facilitate actually being able to use it
  • Various poor fit and finish issues; too numerous to mention

3. While many of the concerns or issues listed above can be modified by the owner of any given ParkLiner, we began to feel a sense of resentment due to the fact that since our ParkLiner was a relatively new (2011) and pricey piece of equipment, it shouldn't have had so many major (some potential safety) issues. We just came to the point that we did not want to support this product in light ongoing issues and our own personal experience with lack of service and support from the company. I have documented all of my communications with the company and the most obvious issue is the large expanse of time when there was NO response to our emails and/or phone calls. The second most obvious service issue evidenced in my records was the fact that Chandler continued to promise support that never happened, at least in the six months that we owned this trailer. Enough was enough.

4. We began to wonder how much the prototype ParkLiner was actually tested, used, refined. Were all (or as many as possible) “what-ifs” looked at before production began? It is upsetting to know that some of the issues could put current ParkLiner owners at risk.

5. None of the above is meant to slander or degrade the ParkLiner Company or owner. This is just our attempt at reflecting on our own personal experiences with the product and the company. While we were drawn to the design and layout of the ParkLiner, the underlying issues became too numerous for us to overlook. All of the specific issues and concerns that we had were made very clear to the new owners of our ParkLiner. We could not have sold it otherwise. They either were not concerned about those issues or felt that they would have no problem fixing them. They were thrilled with their first molded fiberglass trailer, so we were lucky to find the right buyers. Having owned many trailers over the years, including several Bigfoot trailers and three Escape trailers (we currently have a 19ft. Escape), we feel we can speak from experience and knowledge of what makes a safe and quality made product; perhaps we have been “spoiled” by the stellar service and support that has been provided to us from the owners of the Escape Trailer company, not to mention, their quality product.

6. Thanks to several members on this forum who offered a great deal of help and support to us as we struggled with some of the above issues. One is a ParkLiner owner and he went out of his way to give us the information and photos that we were not getting from Chandler. We very much appreciate the wealth of information and support that the Fiberglass Forum provides.
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Old 05-12-2013, 12:20 PM   #2
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While I recognize that you have legitimate concerns, bear in mind that Park Liner is not Toyota or General Motors. His is just a little company and he is scrambling to cover all the bases. Most FG camper manufacturers have gone broke, leaving the campers as orphans. Be careful that you don't contribute to the demise of a great camper with a few small growing pains.
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Old 05-12-2013, 12:36 PM   #3
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How does one find a buyer for such a disappointing unit? Deep discounting?

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Old 05-12-2013, 12:49 PM   #4
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Tom, I understand what you are saying and I have refrained from sharing much at all for a long time. I think Chandler has a good product with great potential. It is unique in many ways. I hope he is successful in his venture.
We purchased an Escape trailer at the very beginning of that company's production and the experience was very different. The owner was responsive, helpful, fixed anything that wasn't right, and listened to his customers so that his trailers would continually improve (which they have). There is much room for improvement in a new company and I hope for great success with ParkLiner, but without changing some of the issues (not the least of which is customer service), I think it may be more difficult for him to stay in business. To pretend that all is well when it isn't, does not make for a successful business plan.
What concerns me most are issues that could be potential safety hazards or may require some major retrofitting down the road. Much of what I mentioned in my post is just cosmetic and isn't a bother to many folks. But structural and safety issues are important. I don't know of many successful businesses that have poor customer service and/or support.
If there are things that need to be fixed, it seems to me that it is better to be open about them and hope that positive change results.

I feel that to not share my experience with ParkLiner is unfair to potential customers who have similar expectations in a purchase such as this. For many, the issues I mentioned are not major concerns. For some, they are. To pretend that all is perfect when it isn't, is deceptive (at least for me).

I do not understand how telling the truth contributes to the demise of a business.
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Old 05-12-2013, 01:00 PM   #5
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Linda:

Thanks for your post - I believe that you have a right to expect a quality product and customer service from a manufacturer of any size. As the Escape story indicates, a small guy can compete and succeed if problems that do arise are cheerfully and promptly fixed and the lesson learned applied to future units.
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Old 05-12-2013, 02:01 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LindaK View Post
What concerns me most are issues that could be potential safety hazards or may require some major retrofitting down the road. .
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Old 05-12-2013, 02:59 PM   #7
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would still buy one

I'm in the market, likely will buy new. Escape is only a 2 day drive, through 2 1/2 beautiful states, so they are at the top of my list of manufacturers. Customer service is important, and accessibility to the manufacturer via phone and or internet is an important part of that accessibility.

That being said, considering the features of the Parkliner, I'd still probably get one if a (late model) used one showed up close by. I just really like the features, the headroom, smooth lines, etc. In some ways what they've made is unique, especially in just 15 feet.

Hopefully Chandler gets more in tune with the customer service side of things, or hires someone who takes over that part for him. Maybe he's just a "gear-head" personality and would rather deal with the nuts/bolts part of the business. If that's the case, he needs to partner up with a "people person" type to answer the phone and deal with customers. Customer service issues can kill a very good product in any age; in the internet age, issues can snowball out of control in a hurry.
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Old 05-12-2013, 04:59 PM   #8
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Some of this I would cough up to being a newer manuf and things are changeing. The water tanks do now have drains on them...Im going to add one eventually but it isn't high on the priority list. My batteries were held down with those plumbers straps... that was fixed as soon as I could. From what I have heard agm bateries dont vent like typical lead acid batteries that they don't need to be vented. I lived on my last boat for 8 years where the batteries vented into my cabin.

Ive taken my ParkLiner off road a few times now and I checked my wheel wells for black marks or sign's of rubbing...so far I see nothing. Im guessing there probably is 2000 miles or so on the axle and I know Harry the original owner told me about a place he camped in a field so I know he had it off road as well. I will continue to keep an eye on it but so far so good.

The grey water tank I will have to look into how I could better support it. I haven't driven more then a mile with greywater in the tank but you raised a valid point and I will address it.

I'm still very happy with my ParkLiner. Just got back from a simple 3 day camping adventure. Gave a tour of it n friday for a couple planning to now order one.

Chandler's business is still starting up and improveing. Im sorry you were not happy with yours...I love mine.
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Old 05-12-2013, 06:22 PM   #9
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LindaK: You have done exactly what I would have done in your place. I was shocked at just the tire rubbing and how many times they have appeared to make changes to the tires and axles. I don't think it matters how small a company is and from reading the posts, it appears that they don't have quality control or customer service not to mention that they are taking on more orders than it appears they can handle thereby rushing through to get them out of the door. This has been obvious from the posts. I know that stick RVs are always under attack here but, seriously, they also are only as good as the quality control and customer service of the manufacturer. Safety issues are very serious and if not addressed could put the manufacturer out of business overnight. Small? New? Not an excuse for me.
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Old 05-12-2013, 07:11 PM   #10
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I know that many folks love their ParkLiners; there were many qualities we liked as well.
One thing we did notice, though, that we found quite interesting, was that we got the same gas mileage when pulling the ParkLiner as we got when pulling our 19ft Escape (same tow vehicle; a V8 4-Runner).
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Old 05-12-2013, 07:15 PM   #11
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I bought number five lil snoozy. I had just as many problems with it. I had to take it back to S Carolina twice, and the issues were still issues. The lil snoozy people were extremely responsive, but they just didn't fix my problems.

I think both companies got their trailers out too fast, and were not diligent in checking them out first. They got the fiberglass part right. But for lil snoozy the plumbing was a nightmare.

I wish both companies well. Hopefully, they will listen to their consumers.
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Old 05-12-2013, 08:03 PM   #12
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Everyone is different and has a right to their own opinion. I'd have no problem buying a Park Liner. The basics appear to be right and the small issues are being refined.

That said, if you want a more mature design, buy something else.
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Old 05-12-2013, 08:05 PM   #13
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As a Parkliner owner (with the tire rub issue) I have done some hard thinking about how I want to approach all of this too. My patience has run thin a few times but what I have decided is this....

As a guy who is 6'1" in socks, I need a tall trailer. That limits my options dramatically if I want to be able to stand up inside without a bent neck, which I do.

I believe in the fundamental design of the trailer and I believe Chandler is a good person and wants to do the right thing. Those are all key ingredients.

Are there some issues? Clearly. So far all issues I have raised have been or are being resolved. I believe that any future warranty type issues will also be resolved. Since Parkliner is still relatively new (<40 units seems VERY new to me) I am willing to work through a few of these. Once I do, I feel like I will have one of the coolest campers out there! Five years down the road, when I have made all of my Mark-ish customizations, well, it will be super cool.

I agree with posting any issues (thus my posting on the tire issue) because I believe that benefits everyone in the end...even Parkliner. They have the chance to connect with us and see what we are saying, thinking, and doing with our trailers. So, I think all these discussions are good.

I want Parkliner to succeed as a business. I have started a small business myself and I know how hard it is to wear all the hats and be responsive too. It wears a person down. Just when you think you have hit a smooth patch, someone calls with a tire issue!

In summary, I think we should let each other know of issues, but I also think we should do what we can to help Parkliner succeed. So if FUTURE Parkliner owners are reading this, and I know they are, be sure to ask Chandler about some of these things. The tire issue is fixed, so you are good there. Ask him about the batteries...see if he has any knowledge or ideas on alternate solutions that may benefit us all. Direct him here too, as he may learn some ideas from all the years of experience people on this forum have!

Anyway, my two cents....

Mark
Parkliner #37
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Old 05-12-2013, 08:22 PM   #14
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...........
Anyway, my two cents....

Mark
Parkliner #37
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Old 05-12-2013, 08:28 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LindaK View Post


2. We had concerns about a number of ParkLiner components that did not seem up to the standard of other current molded fiberglass travel trailers. Some examples were:
  • Battery that was not in a closed, vented (to the outside) and secured container (despite recommendations of the battery manufacturer; Pete did some research due to his own questions about this set-up and found this forum in which a tech person who works for Optima explains the necessity for enclosing and venting batteries that are inside a vehicle or an RV; here is the link: Battery Vent? - evolutionm.net )
  • Torsion axle that was welded to the frame (in spite of the fact that no other current trailer manufacturer that we are aware of does this; current standard promotes attaching axle with brackets, not welding to the frame of the trailer; there are many potential problems that could result due to this set-up)
  • Gray water tank mounted to the underside of the trailer with plumber's tape, not the typical brackets, bolts, and secure straps found in most travel trailers; a full tank is heavy!
  • Interior wiring, plumbing, and gas lines exposed and not secured or protected from the jostling of items stored in cabinetry while traveling, thus creating a potential of loose connections over time
  • Wheel wells not proportional to size of tires (not enough room for movement of tires and wheels during travel); Pete pointed this out to me prior to any of the threads that now identify this as an actual issue in PL trailers
  • No drain on water tank (most, if not all other travel trailers/RVs that we know of, have a drain on the water tank)
  • Escape hatch is not located in an area that would facilitate actually being able to use it
  • Various poor fit and finish issues; too numerous to mention
.
Optima batteries are sealed and are often installed without a purpose built vent. If you drive one of certain late model Buicks, stay out of the back seat if having the battery inside the vehicle is a problem.It may be vented but it is a standard lead/acid battery... Ejection seat or PITA?

Well.... Scamp comes to mind as one example of the torsion axle being welded to the frame, I would have it no other way as it is more reliable aand easier to service. I can not think of a problem which is caused by a properly sized axle being properly welded to the frame, let alone many. Torsion axles are commonly welded in place and have been for generations.

The typical graywater tank is fastened to the floor by something like 20 screws through the flange and then the tank straps are added security.
Plumber's tape being about the same as most any other strap material used.
I use scrap pieces of Signode banding from the dumpster behind my local HVAC store. In most cases two of these are used to install the gas tank back into an old car and it is often the only means of support.
A full gas tank is heavy and common,but I almost never tow with a full graywater tank.
The Falcon's tank is the floor of the trunk and there are no straps added.

While I agree that the freshwater tank should have a drain, The pump should empty the tank ....unless the battery has exploded!

I refused an escape hatch as a condition of purchase when I bought my Scamp.
If it ever falls over, the additional expense of kicking a window out will certainly be inconsequential!

I don't own a Parkliner, and I have several sound reasons for not owning an Escape eventhough both are fine trailers.
I am partial to Scamp,and own a 2004 Scamp 13 and, although no trailer is perfect from the factory, it is so satisfactory that I would not consider trading for any other make now extant.
However, if you go over to Scamper's yahoo group you might sometimes think it was founded for the sole purpose of finding fault with Scamp.
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Old 05-13-2013, 11:13 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Birmingham1 View Post
As a Parkliner owner (with the tire rub issue) I have done some hard thinking about how I want to approach all of this too. My patience has run thin a few times but what I have decided is this....

As a guy who is 6'1" in socks, I need a tall trailer. That limits my options dramatically if I want to be able to stand up inside without a bent neck, which I do.

I believe in the fundamental design of the trailer and I believe Chandler is a good person and wants to do the right thing. Those are all key ingredients.

Are there some issues? Clearly. So far all issues I have raised have been or are being resolved. I believe that any future warranty type issues will also be resolved. Since Parkliner is still relatively new (<40 units seems VERY new to me) I am willing to work through a few of these. Once I do, I feel like I will have one of the coolest campers out there! Five years down the road, when I have made all of my Mark-ish customizations, well, it will be super cool.

I agree with posting any issues (thus my posting on the tire issue) because I believe that benefits everyone in the end...even Parkliner. They have the chance to connect with us and see what we are saying, thinking, and doing with our trailers. So, I think all these discussions are good.

I want Parkliner to succeed as a business. I have started a small business myself and I know how hard it is to wear all the hats and be responsive too. It wears a person down. Just when you think you have hit a smooth patch, someone calls with a tire issue!

In summary, I think we should let each other know of issues, but I also think we should do what we can to help Parkliner succeed. So if FUTURE Parkliner owners are reading this, and I know they are, be sure to ask Chandler about some of these things. The tire issue is fixed, so you are good there. Ask him about the batteries...see if he has any knowledge or ideas on alternate solutions that may benefit us all. Direct him here too, as he may learn some ideas from all the years of experience people on this forum have!

Anyway, my two cents....

Mark
Parkliner #37
Mark, I definitely appreciate and support your perspective! We also hope that Chandler and ParkLiner succeed! Ultimately, I think we all choose a path based on our own personal experience. The beauty of this forum is that people can share their experiences and we can learn from each other.

I also agree with the fact that Chandler is a good person! In the six months that we were communicating with him, we refrained from posting for the same reasons you mentioned: it is a new and struggling company with a good product; our hope was that the particular issues we had would be resolved; when we shared our concerns with Chandler, he offered to help us (we asked for some items and some instructions in how to install them and said we would pay for the items, including shipping; Chandler said that wouldn't be necessary and that he would take care of it); the uniqueness of the ParkLiner design was what drew us to purchasing one and we wanted to make it work for us.

Some of the issues we had with our particular unit have been resolved and fixed in newer units. I did not list all of the things that we needed to fix; those things that were safety issues, we did fix. When we drove off with our "new" ParkLiner, after having purchased it from the previous owner, within 1/4 mile our door flew open three times. We finally secured it with a bungee cord and were later told by Chandler that this was a design flaw in the first few ParkLiners that had been resolved by making a sturdier door frame. He said that he was concerned about our door set-up failing over time and would send us a template for the new frame (we got that five months later), along with complete instructions for how to install it (we never got the instructions). In spite of numerous conversations with Chandler (phone and emails), and continued promises that he would help us, with this door issue along with a few other concerns (and at one point, he told us that we were the only owners that had any problems), all of which were on a friendly and positive note (we remained friendly and Chandler was always positive and often apologetic for the problems and for not following through), we ultimately decided that six months was our limit. I truly hope that Chandler is able to overcome and resolve the customer service issues as well as fixes that are needed.

Any new product can have issues; we certainly had issues with our new Escape trailers. The expectation, though, is that these issues will be resolved in a timely manner by the manufacturer of that product. This has happened with our Escape trailers. This is definitely an important aspect for any new trailer on the market in order for that company to succeed! That was not OUR experience with ParkLiner and it became very frustrating and disappointing. I look forward to hearing about many future happy ParkLiner owners on the forum. This is a good place to vent and share experiences so that all of us can learn, including the molded fiberglass trailer company owners!

Happy Trails,
Linda
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Old 05-13-2013, 12:33 PM   #17
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This is a great thread!!!

We have ordered a ParkLiner and have been following the tire rub issue and it's resolution with great interest. Believe me, we've learned a ton from all of those postings!

While I'm very glad to hear the support and optimism for the future of ParkLiner, I'm also very glad to see that someone has so succinctly listed the issues they personally have had with the company and product. It allows those of us going forward with ParkLiner to do so with eyes wide open. In our case, we're coming from a pop-up tent trailer. This thread provides yet another springboard to educate us and gives us food for thought as to what other questions and concerns we may want to address before we take delivery.

At this point, we are still planning to go ahead with our ParkLiner because no other fiberglass trailer provides the height needed for my husband. I've gone back and looked at the other brands and they all look like great trailers! I'd be happy to own any of them, but none of them has the interior height that ParLiner offers.

So far ParkLiner's issues look fixable. I hope their will be fewer fixes needed by the time we get ours But more importantly, I hope that other current and/or previous owners will continue to share any issues they've had with their ParkLiners. It's really helpful to know what issues we may need to address as we move forward into ownership. It's also nice to hear how different people have addressed some of these same issues.

The spirit of this board is wonderful! It's a pleasure to read about the pros and cons of products and solutions without having to wade through some of the snarkiness seen on other boards.

Thank-you to all of you for making this website so rich and valuable to newbies like us.
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Old 05-13-2013, 01:07 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by Birmingham1 View Post

As a guy who is 6'1" in socks, I need a tall trailer. That limits my options dramatically if I want to be able to stand up inside without a bent neck, which I do.
Other trailers inside height....
Scamp = 6' 3"
Casita 17' = 6' 1-1/2"
Escape = 6' 2"
ParkLiner 6' 5"

Granted ParkLiner has the highest ceilings. Interior height determined my choice when I bought my Scamp 13'. I wanted a smaller trailer, with less stuff to go wrong and lighter. The only two on the market at the time was Casita Patriot and Scamp 13'. The Casita has only 5' 10" interior height, why the Scamp at that time was 6'1" I stand 5' 11" and don't have to bend over to stand and cook.
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Old 05-13-2013, 01:18 PM   #19
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Escape interior height is 6'2" for the 17 and 6'5" for the 19. I'm guessing the 21 will also be 6'5".
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Old 05-13-2013, 01:25 PM   #20
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Not only is the ParkLiner truly 6'5" inside, we figured out a way to use the queen bed as a king bed (which also meant one of us didn't have to crawl over the other at night!) and that was a definite plus. Each particular trailer seems to have its own unique qualities; how could there possibly be one "perfect" trailer for everyone, when each of us has uniquely different needs in a trailer? The husband of the couple that bought our ParkLiner was 6'4" and he was thrilled to be able to stand up in the trailer! That was the deciding factor for them and anything else was "fixable!"

While the interior height of the 19ft. Escape is technically 6'5" inside, the height under the AC unit is a bit less.

The beauty of the Internet, and especially forums like this one, is the increased demand for high quality products and decent customer service. That's a good thing! Personally, I think that competition is also good and start-up companies can learn from the successes of similar companies.

Happy trails,
Linda
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