This versatile, ultra-lightweight travel trailer features a room with a view.
By Mark Quasius, F333630
Part of the allure of camping is to get away from it all and enjoy the great outdoors. This may involve dining at an outside table or transporting recreational equipment to embark on a bike ride through forest trails or a kayaking trip in a stream or lake of your choice. If you want to get back to nature and not feel cooped up, KZ’s Escape Hatch is the perfect RV to make that happen.
The KZ Escape is a popular lightweight travel trailer model that is offered in myriad floor plans and lengths. The Escape Hatch takes it one step further by incorporating a large rear door that opens upward. If you want an open-air approach, simply enjoy your screened living space — for instance, while dining in a bug-free environment and reveling in the fresh air and view. When it’s time to pack up, you can slide your kayak or other recreational toys right back into the rear of the RV for enclosed storage while driving to your next destination.
The aptly named Escape Hatch comes in three sizes, with floor plans that can be arranged easily to your needs. The particular model reviewed here is the Escape E20 Hatch. Just shy of 24 feet long, it is the largest of the three.
With a typical unloaded vehicle weight of 3,560 pounds and a dry hitch weight of 540 pounds, the E20 does not require the towing power of a large truck. This opens up the choice of tow vehicles substantially. The RV’s gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 4,400 pounds leaves an 840-pound cargo carrying capacity. And at an overall length of 23 feet 10 inches, the E20 won’t take up a ton of parking space; yet, it offers plenty of room to move around inside. Its 6½-foot interior height affords enough headroom for most tall folks as well.
The floor of the Escape Hatch is insulated and covered with 5/8-inch tongue-and-groove plywood over a steel frame. The laminated sidewalls are composed of fiberglass over aluminum framing and incorporate high-density solid block-foam insulation with Azdel interior composite panels. The one-piece, seamless Dicor Tufflex PVC roof membrane covers the 3/8-inch plywood roof, which is fully walkable, and comes with a lifetime warranty. The roof, floor, and front and rear caps incorporate fiberglass insulation, as do the 1-inch-thick baggage doors. An automotive-style window adorns the front of the trailer, where a diamond-plate rock guard provides protection from stone chips when traveling.
A 14-foot-wide power awning covers the patio area, and flip-up solid steps allow access to the interior. Comfort needs are met by a 20,000-Btu propane furnace and a 6-gallon water heater.
LED lighting is used throughout the RV, as is residential-grade linoleum flooring, which makes for easy cleanup if someone tracks mud inside. All of the RV’s windows are tinted and paired with pleated day-night shades.
The front end of the trailer contains the sleeping area. This space can be configured with a pair of 32-inch-by-74-inch twin beds and a nightstand between them, or it can be converted to an 86-inch-by-74-inch king-size bed by dropping in a center cushion insert. The bedroom area is prepped for an optional flat-screen TV and has connections for cable TV or a digital over-the-air antenna. Nestled between the bed and the adjacent street-side bathroom is a full-height wardrobe closet for hanging clothes.
The bath contains a molded shower-tub with built-in shelves for toiletries, and it has a foot-pedal-flush toilet.
Just aft of the bath area is a Furrion Arctic 8-cubic-foot, high-efficiency 12-volt refrigerator, with the galley located opposite. The galley features a counter area with a flush-mounted, round stainless-steel sink and a two-burner propane-powered cooktop. The overhead cabinetry contains a microwave oven.
Directly aft of this area in the rear of the RV, a pair of bench seats face each other. Two folding dinette tables can be placed between them to provide plenty of room for family meals. The tables can be removed when desired, creating room for the benches to be made into a solid wall-to-wall bed that measures 90 inches wide.
Of course, the secret ingredient is the E20’s rear door. Twist two handles and it raises vertically, allowing it to act as an overhead shade for shielding occupants from sun and light rain. A screen door can be lowered to keep bugs out of the interior, then rolled back up when it is no longer needed. The rear door incorporates a tinted glass window, as elsewhere, and a light-blocking privacy shade, which is useful when the area is used for sleeping.
Storage space is generous for a trailer of this size. For one, the tall galley pantry affords plenty of room for stowing items. The basement storage compartments include a long pass-through area near the front of the RV.
Numerous options are available. The list includes a 24-inch LED TV with a bracket that makes it possible to relocate the TV from the bedroom to the outside patio area; a bamboo sink cover; bedding upgrades; aluminum wheels; and a wireless color backup camera system. An optional propane-powered griddle attaches to the exterior wall in the patio area and is paired with a quick-disconnect propane connector that can be used for fueling other propane-powered accessories as well.
Perhaps the most interesting option is the available off-grid/off-road package. It increases boondocking capabilities by offering a 100-watt roof-mounted solar panel and controller, a 1,000-watt inverter with dedicated 120-volt outlets, aluminum wheels with mud tires, extra ground clearance, a tongue-mounted bike rack, a double entry step, electronically controlled heated holding tanks, and the griddle mentioned above.
The Escape E20 Hatch is a compact, well-thought-out unit. It should appeal to anyone who wants to get away from crowded RV park sites and truly experience the great outdoors.
SPECIFICATIONS | ESCAPE HATCH
KZ RV, 985 N. 900 W., Shipshewana, IN 46565; (260) 768-4016
2023 Escape Hatch
23 feet 10 inches with hitch
9 feet 4 inches
6 feet 6 inches
GROSS VEHICLE WEIGHT RATING (GVWR)
UNLOADED VEHICLE WEIGHT
DRY HITCH WEIGHT
CARGO CARRYING CAPACITY (CCC)
FRESH WATER CAPACITY
HOLDING TANK CAPACITIES
gray water — 30 gallons; black water — 30 gallons
Furrion 8-cubic-foot, 12-volt, high-efficiency
MANUFACTURER’S BASE SUGGESTED RETAIL PRICE