Sunday, September 25, 2022


RV Review: ESCAPE tiny homes make unique RV alternative

Today’s RV review is of an ESCAPE Tiny House. So how does this qualify as an RV review? Actually, more than I had assumed when I started even looking at this as a potential to share with you. 

RV versus Tiny House

There are a lot of people out there who have visions of living more simply, and there is a significant number who are looking to tiny houses as the solution to that. Oftentimes these are built by the owner, but there are a few companies out there building these. 

Tiny houses can range everywhere from something just like a mobile home with very limited mobility and no holding tanks, to something that is every bit as RV-like as a travel trailer. For example, in speaking with the people at ESCAPE Tiny Homes they work with any specific customer to create what that customer is after. 

If you want something that’s highly mobile, indeed, a trailer that’s towable by a half-ton truck, an ESCAPE can do that. That trailer can be outfitted with holding tanks and RV-specific appliances. So it’s every bit as mobile as any other travel trailer we’ve looked at here. 

The operation has an RVIA certification. That is something that some RV parks require in order to be allow you to stay there. In particular, bigger, fancier places and organizations require this, and that’s what keeps out many home-built projects. In fact, when I was considering building a cargo trailer, one of the big disadvantages was not having an RVIA certification. 

So, while an insurance company would likely qualify this just like any travel trailer, it looks totally different than just about any travel trailer—and that includes the interior. 

What’s inside

It’s difficult to specifically say how the interior of one of these ESCAPE homes will look because each one is relatively unique in the build. But I’m going to take the eVista model, which has proven very popular for the company and might be the most travel trailer-like offering they have. 

The base model of the eVista sports a gigantic window at the front of the trailer. There is a queen-sized mattress right under that. 

Along the ceiling on both sides is open shelving, which the company states adds up to 50 feet of shelving. 

On the camp side is where you’ll find maple butcher block counters that are the basis of the kitchen. There are a number of options, but the standard build features a smaller bar-sized refrigerator along with a stainless steel sink. Being the electric variant from the company, this doesn’t come with a stovetop or microwave, although you can opt in a two-burner induction cooktop and a microwave, as well. 

Climate control in the eVista

Climate control comes from an under-counter heat pump system. There’s a second heater in the bathroom, as these trailers are built in Minnesota, after all. 

That bathroom features a residential toilet and a large shower along with a sink mounted to the back wall. Again, since these can be built with changes that one desires, it’s possible to hang holding tanks and an RV toilet in here instead. 

One of the many striking details inside is how the blinds are hidden above the windows, and there are plenty of windows. The blinds are up in a nook above the window so they’re essentially invisible during the day. 

This is also an all-electric trailer that can work from a 30-amp RV service. 

Striking interior in the ESCAPE eVista

One of the most striking things about these trailers is the interior—which is a light wood rather than that wallpaper-look board. The structure is beefier than most travel trailers and incorporates heavier wood building materials. They’re closer to what you’d find in a home rather than the lighter materials typically found in most wood-framed travel trailers. 

Like most homes nowadays, there’s a plastic material under the outside skin. Insulation is done with a more natural product in that it’s a wool-based material. 

But, unlike many homes, this one features a steel roof that’s warranted for 40 years. Not bad. 

Don’t try that at home

One of the other very unusual things about ESCAPE trailers is that you can actually test one before you buy one. ESCAPE has worked with a number of organizations to have these tiny homes available to test fit before you plunk down your money. This is literally the only time I’ve ever seen this done. It’s a great idea. 

This would give you the idea of how they’re built and how they actually feel. But, even better, it would show how they stand up to abuse by renters. That may be the toughest test of them all. 

What’s the downside?

I think the biggest downside might not be anything inherent in the trailer itself, but the perception thereof. I asked in a group of RV campground owners about tiny houses staying at their park. There were certainly a number who were dead set against it. 

As expected, some also asked about seeing pictures beforehand. There were a few who asked about the RVIA certification. For insurance purposes. 

As a former resort owner myself (did you know that?), I can tell you that a lot of what we blame on insurance companies is really just policy. Of course, a lot of it is also insurance companies.

But most were cool with the idea and said no issues with a tiny house as long as it met all the usual standards.

I would also much prefer seeing either doors or something in front of those long storage areas, but I suspect this can be accomplished. It might also be stylish to put a bungee of some sort and then baskets in the cabinets. 

Advantages and disadvantages to a tiny home

There are both advantages and disadvantages to this. But I like the style and I know a number of people who have recently moved tiny homes onto their properties. I know more than a few people who have seen their parents’ lifetime collection of stuff go up in flames or just have to get sold when the economy tanked. Those people place more value on experiences than material goods. 

That’s one explanation for the popularity of tiny homes. Being able to live the trendy tiny home lifestyle and also camp with RVers seems like a very appealing lifestyle for more than a few people. 

I do not have a chart for this model; however, models with holding tanks have 40 gallon capacities. 

More from Tony

I would love to read your comments and suggestions over on our new forums, where you can weigh in and start or join a discussion about all things RV. Here’s a link to my RV Reviews Forum.

If you’re RV shopping here are some tips on RV shopping from a former RV salesperson—me!

Tony comes to having worked at an RV dealership and been a lifelong RV enthusiast. He also has written the syndicated Curbside column about cars. He also works closely with a number of RV manufacturers to get an inside look at how things are done and is a brand ambassador for Rockwood Mini Lite with his wife, Peggy.

You can also check out his RV podcast with Peggy. 

These RV reviews are written based on information provided by the manufacturers along with our writer’s own research. They are based on information from a single unit and may not reflect your actual experience. Shop your RV and dealership carefully before making a buying decision. We receive no money or other financial benefits from these reviews. They are intended only as a brief overview of the vehicle, not a comprehensive critique, which would require a thorough inspection and/or test drive.

Got an RV we need to look at? Contact us today and let us know in the form below – thank you!



Notify of

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Steve H
7 days ago

These are clearly not made for any RVer who moves every day or two or who travels 3500 miles at 75 mph during his annual two-week vacation. This might work ok at Quartzite during a 5-month snowbird stay, then back to MN to sit at the “lake property” the other 7 months. The stress and cost of 2 one-way, 1500-mile trips a year at 3 mpg and 55 mph is about all that most drivers could tolerate or afford!

Bob p
2 days ago
Reply to  Tony Barthel

He won’t tow very much at 75 mph on the 65 mph RV tires.

7 days ago

The inside looks very retro and nice, but OMG…couldn’t they do something a little more appealing for the exterior??? Talk about zero areodynamics and UGLY!

7 days ago

People are not going to like this because it is different, and they are use to the crap quality of the RV world. You can just see the build quality in every picture. Love it, I would purchase an RV right now but the continuous horror stories on crap quality tells me NO. Glad to see there are options. Thanks for sharing. That is one beautiful tiny home.

Bob p
7 days ago

You state that the giant window is in the front but the video shows it in the rear, that window is a no go for me. Is it automotive safety glass? No mention of weight other than it’s 1/2T towable. Talk about towing a giant brick down the road, the aerodynamics would give the Ford Lightning about 25 miles of range. This looks like something you would set up on a lakeside lot and use it as a vacation/weekend getaway, not something used as a RV.

Tommy Molnar
7 days ago
Reply to  Bob p

Or ice fishing for you and all your buds?

Bob p
7 days ago
Reply to  Tommy Molnar

Have to cut holes in the floor and be able to drop Rome onto the ice, tire/wheel/suspension has to go. Ice fishing house probably less expensive.

Bob p
7 days ago
Reply to  Bob p

Not Rome, frame!

Tommy Molnar
7 days ago
Reply to  Bob p

Yeah I was kinda kidding about that.

Tommy Molnar
7 days ago

I bought a Tough Shed from Home Depot and made it into my shop. This could be my next Tough Shed project. NOT!

The RV park we’re currently staying in has a “tiny home” way back in a corner, and it looks SO out of place. But, the owners seem to like it and the park doesn’t seem to care that they’ve taken up residence here. So, all’s good.

Sign up for the RVtravel Newsletter

Your information will *never* be shared or sold to a 3rd party.

Subscribe to our newsletter

Every Saturday and Sunday morning. Serving RVers for more than 20 years.