By Tony Barthel
It used to be that the most popular vehicle in the U.S. was the sedan, first coupes and then four doors. Now our favorite is the pickup truck but, if you’re not buying a pickup you’re buying an SUV. Why? Flexibility. While RVs and trailers do have models that offer flexible floor plans, they don’t seem as common. However, KZ RV has created one that really intrigues me in their KZ Escape Hatch line, particularly the E20 model.
Three sizes of the KZ Escape Hatch
Available in three sizes, the KZ Escape Hatch is basically a smaller, single-axle trailer that has a large, 60-inch-wide by 66-inch-tall rear hatch door that flips up like the hatch of an SUV. This provides access to a cargo area in the back that can accommodate things like bicycles, kayaks and other adventure gear that many of us are taking with us.
The obvious comparison would be to a smaller toy hauler like the Rockwood GeoPro 19FBTH. Like that model, the Hatch line are all single axle and narrower than some travel trailers. They’re only 90” wide, six inches less than a full eight-foot-wide travel trailer.
The KZ Escape Hatch comes in three lengths, but I like the 20’ model the best. In fact, it’s very, very close to what my wife and I have been looking for as our own next rig.
Up front there are two twin-sized mattresses with a space in the middle. But KZ includes a board, and it’s literally just that, which can go between the mattresses to turn them into one giant king-sized bed. Not bad for a 20’ travel trailer.
Touring the interior
There is a hanging wardrobe at the entrance to the bedroom which has a ward (closet) at the top and two cubbies below – which would be perfect for the totes my wife and I use to transfer our clothes in and out of our existing trailer. There’s also storage above the bed area, so it seems that there’s certainly enough space for clothing. Furthermore, there is storage under the twin beds as well.
The bath, which is opposite the entry door, is a dry bath consisting of a toilet and a shower… but that’s it. No sink nor any storage in there. In fact, in the images I saw of this trailer there isn’t even a vent fan in the bathroom, although there is a vent hatch. The lack of a sink doesn’t bother me nearly as much as the lack of a vent fan in the bathroom, although I do like that KZ’s shower enclosure goes all the way up to the ceiling of the trailer.
The kitchen consists of a large round sink and a two-burner cooktop. There is enough counter space next to the sink, but what I would do, if this were my own trailer, is remove the gas cooktop altogether and replace that with a couple of induction cooktops. Then you have the whole kitchen countertop for prep and can break out those induction burners for the actual business of cooking. There is a microwave too.
There’s good cabinet and drawer space, especially for a trailer this size. I like that there’s a cabinet that essentially contains what amounts to a sliding basket holder and you can remove those baskets and take them outside.
There is a decent pantry next to the kitchen, and next to that is a vertical space that holds three boards/platforms. You would use these between the benches in the back to turn them into one large bed across the rear of the coach.
What’s in the back of the KZ Escape Hatch
But, when not a bed, the back is comprised of two benches that face one another. There are included free-standing folding tables that can go outside or be used between the benches. These tables fold down and can be stored in those benches.
In the Rockwood model, the benches flip up but here they’re stationary. Still, there is plenty of space between them for kayaks or bicycles and that sort of thing.
That big hatch in the back is supported by gas props, just like in the hatch of an SUV. There’s a screen that goes over the opening so you could sit on the benches in the back playing a game of cards while enjoying a nice breeze, courtesy of that huge door with the screen keeping the bugs at bay. Slide open the windows above each of those benches and you have a nice open space.
There are also cabinets above the benches for more storage. The last place you’ll find even more storage is in a pass-through storage compartment along the front of the trailer.
There’s an optional package that I would get, which is the Off-Grid/Off-Road package which includes better tires and larger wheels. It also comes with 100 watts of solar on the roof and a 1,000-watt inverter wired into some of the trailer’s plugs. That package also includes a solar controller and a Furrion portable Bluetooth speaker and flashlight, tongue-mounted bicycle rack, griddle, and wiring for additional solar on the side (think a portable solar panel). This package also includes heated holding tanks.
What I like – what I don’t
There are things I love about this trailer enough that I want to see one in person as a potential replacement for my own trailer. The floor plan and the fact that it’s lightweight yet able to carry cargo are huge pluses for me. I’m also surprised by the amount of storage in a trailer of this length – and the logical configuration of that storage, to boot.
I also like that there are no slides, so it would be a great rig for stealth camping along the way to your actual destination.
But there are a few things that dislike about this trailer, as well. For example, the fresh water tank is just 20 gallons but the gray water tank is 30. I’d love to see them swap fresh and gray tanks and use the gray tank to feed the black tank by letting you pump gray water through the toilet rather than using fresh water. Of course, this would be the first change I would make if I bought this trailer. I’ve modified the heck out of my own trailer, so there you go.
I can’t believe there is no ventilation fan whatsoever in the trailer. Even a lousy fan is better than nothing, as you can replace a lousy fan with a high-performance one in a few minutes.
Also, the water heater is only propane – no electric.
You can see how features cost money comparing this to the Rockwood, which is almost $8,000 more but features frameless windows, Azdel substrate in the walls, a Dexter Torflex suspension system, high-performance vent fans, gas and electric water heater, a three-burner stove and 22″ oven and more. Obviously, your own shopping priorities will dictate where your preference might be between these two rigs.
Still, this is a trailer even some mid-size pickups and SUVs can tow and has enough good features and smart packaging to really be a good adventure-seeking vehicle. I really like the design of this and, with about a day’s worth of modification time, could potentially see this occupying a space in my own driveway.
These RV reviews are written based on information provided by the manufacturers along with our writer’s own research. 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.
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