Our first trailer was a Jayco Jayfeather Sport 197. It was our introduction to camping but it had some shortcomings. So we sat down and made a list of features we wanted in an upgrade.
It was a fairly short list but it took us months to narrow down to the trailer we wanted
Our Requirements List
- Walk around true queen (not Murphy)
- Tall shower
- Dual fuel heat
- Dual fuel water heater
- Ducted AC
- Electric canopy
- Less than 4,000 unloaded
- Light colored exterior
- Fridge/bath access when slide closed
- Sofa plus dinette Rear Living
Must Haves That We Could Add If Needed
- Powered tongue jack
- Whole house fan
- Lots of USB ports
- Keyless entry
Nice To Haves
- Outside ladder
- Bigger bathroom
- Light color interior
- Double slide
There were a few things that there was nothing that we would change our minds on. These were:
- Walk around queen. There was no way we were going to upgrade and keep on climbing over each other to go to the bathroom at night.
- Not Murphy. When I’m ready to go to sleep it has to be NOW.
- Light Weight. We were pulling with a Nissan Frontier with a 6,100 max. Our Jayfeather was 3,800 unloaded and we didn’t have a lot of headroom. We also weren’t going to upgrade to a 1/2 ton tow vehicle. We drive, and park, the truck 52 weeks a year and only camp 6 or 7 weeks. We were staying in the smaller class of truck.
- Setup and Tear Down convenience. We wanted features that made it quick to park, quick to apologize after parking, quick to set up and quick to tear down. So we kept an eye on the trailers we were looking at for thing that made it easy to camp.
Things We Gave Up On Quickly
If you know anything about travel trailers you’ll realize this is a nearly impossible list. So we gave up on:
Dual fuel heat – For electric, we carry a small, home-style, plug in space heater and that does the job.
Ducted AC – to get to the weight requirements we were in short enough trailers that no one was making them ducted.
Outside ladder – No one puts them on small trailers in our weight class and we weren’t going to pay to add one.
Double slide – We were surprised how much weight was tied up in slides. In our weight class a double slide was out.
So, What Did We Pick?
After spending countless hours on the web and making a few visits we had narrowed down to a handful of trailers. Since it was about time for Hershey we decided to make a weekend trip to see a whole bunch of trailers.
Our shortlist was:
Coachmen Apex 213RDS – It had the layout we wanted, was nice and light, and had an available light colored interior.
Gulfstream Vista Cruiser 23RSS – It had the layout we wanted, and was nice and light.
Gulfstream Vintage Cruiser 23RSS – It had the layout we wanted, was nice an light, and kind of quirky.
After spending a ton of time looking at these at the show I was pretty set on the 213RDS. My significant other veto’d all three at the last moment because they just didn’t have enough storage. And she was right, they really had very limited storage.
While we were looking for a Plan B, we happened across the 215RBK. It didn’t have the layout we wanted with only a dinette, but it felt bigger inside by a lot and had a crazy amount of storage.
It was over my weight limit by a little and I was worried about tow weight (especially since all storage eventually fills) but I really liked the outdoor kitchen since it fit with quick setup desire.
So, the 215RBK made us give up on:
- Weight limit (4,100 unloaded)
- Fridge/bath access when slide closed (you need to open it a foot or so or do some acrobatics)
- Sofa plus dinette rear living
It wasn’t readily available where we lived, but we found one with a light interior about 6 hours away and brought it home.