Victron BMV-700 Battery Monitor Kit Installation – Full Time RV

Battery Monitor BMV-700 in Escape Travel Trailer - Full Time RV

I’ve installed a Victron BMV-700 Battery Monitor Kit in our 2015 Escape 19 Fiberglass Trailer.  Check out the video of the installation:

For more info about the parts used, check out these links:

Victron BMV-700 – http://amzn.to/2clvY8C
Bluetooth Addon – http://amzn.to/2bYT3Nj
Lennox 2″ Hole Saw – http://amzn.to/2cjUxzO
Zip Ties – http://amzn.to/2bYScMO

My Camera Gear
Panasonic Lumix LX100 (Camera) – http://amzn.to/2bYSkff
Sony ECMCS3 (Mic)
Olympus LS10 (Recorder) – http://amzn.to/2bIjWWS

Full review of the 2015 Escape 19 Fiberglass Trailer – https://youtu.be/KomQ7iDbvdU

Fiberglass RV Full Time

Our Second Stop in Washington - Fiberglass RV Camper

So we’ve been living in our fiberglass travel trailer for about 4 months now, and I’ve definitely been here long enough to have some “first” impressions of full-time RV living. Let’s go!

Cross-Country Drive and Pickup

Brand New Escape Trailer - Fiberglass Camper

We picked up our Escape Trailer in Chilliwack, BC, Canada. We drove up from San Antonio to BC in about 5 days. I booked all the hotel stays on the way up with a boatload of Marriott points I accumulated for free with some manufactured spend on the Marriott Visa card.

The people at Escape were fantastic, and although we were contacted by someone before getting our trailer – stating that we might run into problems – we have yet to run into any serious problems with this fantastic fiberglass RV.

First Campground in Fiberglass Escape Trailer

We spent the first week in our trailer at a KOA campground in Washington very near to the Escape headquarters – just in case anything went wrong with the trailer. We were starting a journey back to Texas for the most unfortunate reason of all…

Registering the Trailer

Switching to a full-time RV status requires choosing a residence state, of which you can pick South Dakota, Texas, or Florida. Florida sucks, so it’s out. South Dakota… well, here’s why we picked Texas.

Whatever state you pick for full-time residence, you must establish “professional communication” with some one / company/companies in the county where you’ll have your driver’s license, to set your domicile. Since we already lived in Texas, it was a simple as skipping all that and just changing the address on our licenses. Domicile chosen.

Our Second Stop in Washington - Fiberglass RV Camper

Our second stop in Silver Lake, WA – just gorgeous, but really far from civilization.
So the downside to wanting to get an RV and travel the West Coast of the USA is that you have to register the damn thing first, and registering requires getting a physical inspection in the state of residence. From Texas, to Canada… back to Texas. 🙁

The Oregon Coast - Fiberglass RV Camping

Our stop at the magnificently gorgeous Oregon coast, with a state park shower to make all other showers weep.
Even after we got back to Texas and got the exact inspection the Polk County Tax Office said we needed – an inspection by the Texas Auto Theft Task Force, in El Paso – we drove away, only to receive a letter stating that inspection was not good enough, and we needed a generic safety inspection at a state inspection place. Ugh.

Nissan Frontier and Escape 19 Fiberglass Travel Trailer

After going all the way to El Paso, TX to get our registration stuff done, we headed up to one of our favorite states – New Mexico. We found a great park that we figured we could stay at for a while, while cooling down from all the initial travel. We settled in, and then started to really learn more about our new fiberglass egg.

Soldering LED Lights in Fiberglass Travel Trailer RV

Two of the LED lights in our trailer were flickering since the first night of using them, so Escape graciously sent us free replacements. Being the EE nerd I am, I decided to solder and heat shrink them into place. 🙂

Prepping for Travel/Arrival

Packing up the trailer and getting it ready for travel has gotten easier every single time we’ve done it. It take about 30 minutes max – less if we’re moving very quickly. It’s basically:

  1. Empty the tanks / put away the sewer hose
  2. Put up the stabilizer jacks
  3. Stow the water hose / power cable
  4. Raise the gooseneck hitch
  5. Attach to truck
  6. Attach the weight distribution hitch bars and 7-pin harness
  7. Check the Brake lights / blinkers
  8. Put things in cabinets inside and prep for travel

The way we’ve done it so far is that I’ll do the outside stuff, and Jess will do the inside stuff. We’ll probably switch that up a couple times when we move the trailer to a new location.

Cozy Queen Bed in Escape 19 Fiberglass Camper Trailer

Our cozy Queen Bed with panoramic window views, in the rear of our fiberglass trailer.

Not Much is Different From Normal Living

After living in an apartment for about 10 months, I have to say that not much is different when living in an RV. Sure, there’s less space to lounge around, but the main differences are that you have to empty the gray/black tanks, and that… no, that might be it!

Bichon in Truck Bed

Our cute little bichon loves the fiberglass camper life!
We have to be sure to always have a window cracked and leave the Maxx Fan on (goes out the roof of our trailer) so that we don’t get excess condensation build up – which leads to mold; but there really aren’t many things done differently in a travel trailer than regular apartment/house living.

Getting Outside

Getting outside is much easier now than it was when we were living in a third-floor apartment. This is mainly due to the fact that we pick places to stay with excellent hiking trails nearby, so we aim to get out at least once a day.

Fiberglass Camper Living Panorama 1

Fiberglass Camper Living Panorama 2

Our current digs have truly spectacular views.
Getting outside and moving often is easy when your surroundings are this gorgeous, and with this much variation.

Winter Wonderland - Fiberglass Trailer Camping

We Won’t Make the Cover of “Hipster Monthly”

Yes, sometimes our trailer does not look perfectly immaculate on the inside.

Messy Kitchen - Escape 19 Fiberglass Trailer

Although we do like to keep it nice and tidy most of the time.

Tidy Escape 19 Fiberglass Trailer 1

Tidy Escape 19 Fiberglass Trailer 2

Costs are Relatively the Same

Our apartment was around $850/month, and that did not include water, electricity, cable internet, trash service, and how much driving we had to do to get anywhere in that shitty place we used to live.

Our current monthly rent is $650, and our trailer loan payment is $460. Our monthly rent includes water, electricity, sewer, and WiFi. Seeing it as around $1100/month can put into perspective being locked into a 1 or 2 bedroom apartment in an enormous metropolis, versus being able to go wherever you want, whenever you want.

I don’t know what the monthly will be in other places we stay, but at one of the amazing resorts we stayed at in Washington, the monthly rate was $430. Didn’t include electricity, but with a 150-watt solar panel and a 1500 watt inverter, we could generate 80% of our electricity on our own.

On top of very affordable (for us) monthly costs, our fridge and pantry are the PERFECT size for getting 2-2.5 weeks worth of groceries in one trip.

Escape 19 Fiberglass Trailer Dometic HPC Fridge

The fact that the fridge is raised about 24″ also makes it incredibly easy to access every shelf without bending over, like we had to with our apartment fridge.

No Tiny House Decisions

I can’t tell you how much of a relief it is to step into a trailer that was built by some of the most dedicated camper manufacturers on the continent. Escape trailers are absolutely better quality than even Airstreams. These have the same, if not better, parts than an Airstream.

Atwood propane/electric water heater (faster water heating than any house/hotel I’ve ever been in) and Atwood water heater – better size Dometic fridge/freezer than in most Airstreams, Samlex solar controller, 1500W inverter with a transfer switch so we get AC to all outlets when running on battery power, double pane windows – the list goes on, but the MSRP of this was equal to about $25k USD, whereas a 19′ Airstream Flying Cloud STARTS at $62k. Jesus.

This fiberglass trailer is also lighter than an aluminum Airstream, and completely sealed – which means no leaking issues, like the silver trailers are prone to.

Needless to say, I am so happy to be rid of all those tiny house decisions, and onto this amazingly built trailer with thoughtful, smart, and reliable design decisions made by someone else. Not like these pieces of pure junk.

Escape Trailer 19 Fiberglass Camper PEX and Electric Runs

I did not have to make any of these decisions, and the AC / DC / water (PEX) runs make what I did in the tiny house look like a joke.
Another plus of staying in places pretty far from city centers is that the moon gets WOWZA bright at night.

Escape 19 Fiberglass Trailer at Night 1

Escape 19 Fiberglass Trailer at Night 2

So That’s Pretty Much It

Living in a fiberglass trailer is not very different from living in a very large space. Sure, we yearn for more stretching space every once in a while, but we can also get outside in about 2 foot steps of where we are – no matter how far into the trailer we are.

It’s really awesome to think you can simply pack up and drive to wherever you want to stay. Don’t like it? You can leave tomorrow! It’s a great feeling of freedom. We’re already thinking about what we’ll do next, but for now, we are loving the full-time RV life.

Escape 19 Fiberglass Trailer at Night 3