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Discussion Starter #1
K-Z Escape E180RBT.

Hitch Weight: 370 lb.
GVWR: 4500 lb.
UVW: 3320 lb.
5485


note: ^^this floorplan doesn't show the front bed but it's there.

We camp with 4 kids in a large-ish pop-up. It works and is very affordable but has some real drawbacks. The table/bed shuffle is still necessary every day and gets really old. There's a lot of canvas and keeping cool/warm enough is hard. The setup/teardown process is annoying and don't even get me started on the bag awning. It's got some age on it being a 2002 and is really starting to show.

I've looked around at models the Ascent can tow that meet our needs/wants and was liking the Apex Nano 20X. The hitch weight is a little much though and it's expensive, $25k+. You've got to pay to play though, right?

Apex Nano 20X

Hitch Weight: 464 lb.
GVWR: 4700 lb.
UVW: 3456 lb.
5484


Anyway, I think the K-Z is my new front-runner. The layout is very similar to the Apex Nano, maybe a bit better, but is a little lighter and twin axle. It checks all the boxes: Dedicated sleeping space for 6, table, toilet, microwave, power awning.

Purchase plans aren't immediate. Just planning for the future at this point. Asking price looks to be about $21k new, and $13-14k a couple years used.

Is there any reason this wouldn't work well with the Ascent? Do you have any favorite large-family campers? It looks like hybrids with the tent beds are the way to go for me.
 

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That’s a solid option. I looked into the same model but was dissuaded because of concerns over the durability of the exterior materials for the fold-out beds. That’s mainly because we’re renting-out the trailer. If it were only for our personal use, I likely/maybe would have gone that route.

We bought a Salem/Wildwood 178BHSK, which has worked great. My only concern was the dry tongue weight of 430, compared to the Ascent’s 500 limit. But, after backloading the trailer, my Fastway ball mount with built-in scale read between 420-450 for the duration of our trips.

Based on my personal towing experience, the Ascent will capably handle the Escape that you mentioned.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the reply. That looks like a nice camper for a family of 4. How many do you camp with?

The renting experience must be interesting also. How's it worked out for you so far?
 

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We’ve camped with a total of five: three adults and two young kids. The renting experience has worked out well, at least so far. We’re renting it through a company that stores the trailer and communicates directly with the renters. The rental company gets a cut, but it’s a fair price to get that insulation from the fuss and potential liability.
 

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This is my opinion only, so please take it as such as these may not be concerns of yours.

I ruled out tent bed trailers for two primary reasons:

1). Heating and air conditioning are significantly compromised. This can be very important when camping in very hot or cold climates.

2). They offer no security. It only takes a sharp knife to breach your camper. This could be a factor when boondocking in Walmart parking lots, parks, or other areas where security is never assured, or even in campgrounds if security is a concern. When traveling into parts unknown and some sketchy states and towns, I at least want four relatively hard walls surrounding me and my family while we sleep.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Those are valid concerns. Coming from a pop-up though, this is an improvement.

We've camped down into the 20's and by using an electric space heater, gas furnace, and cozy blankets stay pretty warm. The AC is cold enough to freeze you out even in hot florida temps. There are big insulating blankets you can wrap around the tent ends called pop-up gizmos. Apparently they work wonders.

We usually stick to state or national parks and haven't ever felt threatened or in danger. I don't think boondocking is really in our future.

We'd need a pretty big rig to sleep 6 with hard sides. Definitely a different tow vehicle.

This is my opinion only, so please take it as such as these may not be concerns of yours.

I ruled out tent bed trailers for two primary reasons:

1). Heating and air conditioning are significantly compromised. This can be very important when camping in very hot or cold climates.

2). They offer no security. It only takes a sharp knife to breach your camper. This could be a factor when boondocking in Walmart parking lots, parks, or other areas where security is never assured, or even in campgrounds if security is a concern. When traveling into parts unknown and some sketchy states and towns, I at least want four relatively hard walls surrounding me and my family while we sleep.
 

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I know that some canvas sided RVs wouldn't be allowed in bear prone areas. I laugh when I hear the canvas prohibition because I remember my neighbor returning from yellowstone with the rear of his teardrop torn open by a scavenging bear. This was an old school layout with the rear outdoor galley. The bear ate all their food and tore apart the stove.
 

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There are other options that are in spec for the Ascent but you have to search them out. The hybrid campers are nice because of the added space but you are giving up some security and reliability.

If your kids don't mind sharing beds there are some decent trailers with twin double bunks and a queen main bed. You give up some space and they cost more, but if having dedicated sleeping space is important it may be worth it. I will try to find some with links for you.
 

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When we decided to buy our trailer we went to all the local dealers and spent quite sometime going through all of the models with a bunkhouse and under 5k lbs. The kids loved it and we got to see what orientation we wanted for the beds, and dinette, etc. We didn't end up buying new though. We found a nice used rv an hour or so away. With a bigger trailer you will give up some weight carrying capacity and limit what can be packed in the trailer. If you are used to a tent trailer a hard side will be easy to adjust to packing. Good luck in your search!
 

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I like that Apex Nano. I'm a n00bie as well, I was looking at something similar the Jayco X17Z which looks very similar. Just wondering about the tongue weight. Everywhere I looked at they said the tongue weight at 370 is high, since I'll have to add propane tanks x 2 and battery which pushes it to 450+.

Do people have any concerns about that? I've seen some people pulling 400lb tongue weight trailers on their Ascent. And your other trailer you're looking at K-Z is 460 tongue weight. Is that a concern?
 

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I like that Apex Nano. I'm a n00bie as well, I was looking at something similar the Jayco X17Z which looks very similar. Just wondering about the tongue weight. Everywhere I looked at they said the tongue weight at 370 is high, since I'll have to add propane tanks x 2 and battery which pushes it to 450+.

Do people have any concerns about that? I've seen some people pulling 400lb tongue weight trailers on their Ascent. And your other trailer you're looking at K-Z is 460 tongue weight. Is that a concern?
I load ours to a 500 lb tongue weight and the ascent is pretty happy pulling it. Check the actual weight and included accessories. Ours shows hitch weight as delivered with full propane and battery installed.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Now that's interesting! I had thought the bunkhouse models were twin size. These doubles are only 3" narrower than the camper queens in the K-Z, 51x76 vs 54x76. They're really near to the towing limits and I'd like to keep some margin. The benefit of hard sides to tent beds can't be ignored though.

The kids are small but growing like weeds. I think an expandable would suit us better while they're still camping with us for the next 8 to 10 years.

Regardless, thanks for the options. Discussion like this is awesome. :D
 
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