So I've owned the trailer for about 3 days and spent our first night at "camp driveway" last night... here are my impressions so far:
- It's got a LOT of storage space, we've pretty much got it loaded with the standard checklist of "all occasion" non expendables (dishes, bed linens, bathroom stuff, basic games, trailer maintenance stuff, etc..) and have plenty of room for trip specific items (clothes, food/beverages, other personal & entertainment items).
- The sleeping location at the front of the trailer in the dining area is a good size for my wife and I (5'10" and 5'6" with healthy BMI's) but the cushioning is god awful, the bed is NOT a "queen" as it measures 54x81 inches which is a "Full XL".. (54x80) which makes finding a mattress topper a bit of a chore (you could cut down a Queen memory foam topper to fit as well). I was able to find a 2.5" memory foam memory topper in Full XL size for $100 shipped via Wayfair (http://www.wayfair.com/Eclipse-Perfe...5-XEC1203.html
)... still shopping around as it is probably cheaper to buy/cut a queen down or just settle with a slightly undersized standard full.
- Adding two front stabilizing jacks was a good call, I tried leveling with just the rears that come with the trailer + the front jack and it was significantly less stable when people are moving around inside.
- The dealership installed a group 24 deep cycle Interstate battery (HD24-DP), the manual indicates on page 6-7 that the electrical system is designed for a Group 27, deep cycle battery... Cheesey way to shave a couple bucks off of a big ticket purchase..
- I like the multi-stage battery charger feature on the power converter and verified with a basic DC volt meter that it was switching from Absorbtion (13.6v) to Float (13.2v) mode when shore power was connected and the battery was fully charged without significant load on the 12v system (O2 detector and radio on standby). I still plan to bring the battery inside during the winter months and connect it to a battery tender but will probably leave it connected to shore power when it's parked near the house during camping/hunting seasons.
- Mine was built in December, 2012 and is equipped with a 7000 BTU Frigidare air conditioner which runs fine on "low cool" via a 25 foot 15 amp "heavy duty" extension cord connected to the on-board 25 foot 30 amp cable to a standard garage outlet. On a 90 degree day with 90% relative humidity earlier in the week it cooled the trailer to 75 degrees in about 15 minutes but did leak water out across the window below it.
- The shower/tub is probably designed for a 5'8" person max, at 5'10" my head was inside of the skylight bubble. Still not a bad experience, wet down - use the button on the shower head to pause the water while you lather up, rinse, out you go. The tub is the perfect size for washing kids which is huge for our family.
I've also been testing out system run times on battery alone to start planning for hunting season in November when I'll likely be boondocking for 5-6 days in a row (winterized so no water systems would be active, fridge would not be in use at all). Power draw would primarily be the furnace blower (evening hours only unless conditions are particularly bad during the day) and lights along with some phone/gadget charging from the 12v cigarette style receptacle normally reserved for the TV. I'll likely add a kill switch to the installed Dual radio which seems to be a constant (but minor) drain on the battery in standby.
The dealership installed Interstate group 24 hybrid HD-24dp battery (41 lbs, 11.6 hrs @ 5 amps) that came with the trailer is seriously anemic <see my note above>, assuming I upgrade it to something like the Wal-Mart EverStart size 29, 12v marine deep-cycle battery ($82 at WalMart + $8 for a new box, 62 lbs, 21.2 hrs @ 5 amps) Upgrading to a type 29 will add 20 pounds (from 40 to 60) but double capacity which I think is a pretty good trade off. This should give me 50-60 usable amp-hours to work with each day if I want to avoid going below 50% on the battery. With my portable 100 watt solar panel+battery charger I'm hoping to replenish 5 amps per hour when I've got good sun to work with, likely optimistic in the fall up here but should close to recharging what I use in a day. I'll probably add at least another 50 watt panel at some point but want to see how this one actually performs before throwing down another $100 for the second panel. For now it will be portable and placed in as optimal a location as I can find to gather sunlight but I am thinking a roof install would be nice long term.
If I peel out the fluff and go with essential power usage, the Attwood 7920 II 18k BTU furnace draws 3.4 amps @ 12 volts in operation, the stock #921 interior bulbs draw 1.4 amps each and there are 11 in the trailer interior fixtures plus one in the range hood, my iPhone 5 draws 1 amp when charging. The light bulbs in these trailers are absolute battery hogs and given the many low cost options available on ebay I've already ordered a set of LED replacements (looks like it will cost around $50-$60 for 12 with a warm 3000k / 250 lumen or better light output) which should knock the lighting draw down at least 80-90%. I may also charge up some smaller 18ah, 12 volt AGM cells I have lying around before we depart and set up a stand-alone accessory charging station for things like cell phones to keep the load off the trailer battery.
Aside from the battery quibble (a dealership vs Jayco issue) and commonly reported air conditioning condensation on the window I'm very happy with the trailer. A number of neighbors and friends who have experience camping seem pretty jazzed about the configuration and amenities particularly given the price paid.