Wednesday, November 29, 2023


New 2024 RV offerings from the RV Open House—Part 1

Today, is coming to you from Indiana, where the RV industry opens its doors and shows off the latest and greatest they have to offer. While RV shows might be where consumers get their information, the RV Open House is where dealers learn about the latest new offerings and technologies in the RV industry. 

What is the RV Open House?

The idea is that dealers come in from all over the U.S. to see what’s new and experience those products firsthand. The representatives from the various RV companies are on hand to explain, answer questions and, hopefully, get commitments from dealers on all this new product. 

If you want to put your finger on the pulse of what’s happening in the RV industry, this is the place to do so. Dealers and manufacturers come together and the result is what you will see, or not see, in showrooms all over the U.S.

This is a huge event with mega companies like Forest River and THOR occupying tremendous pieces of land and bringing out all their latest and greatest products for dealers to see. In turn, the dealers come and buy these RVs. I was sitting in a fifth wheel and a dealership purchased over a million dollars of just the floor plan I was sitting in, for example. 

It also gives the dealers an opportunity to come and touch and see the newest products out there. While those dealers might be guessing at what these various models look like, this gives them the chance to stand in them and touch them. 

There are also smaller manufacturers all over—some even with displays in parking lots. I stopped to see one company that had its offerings laid out in the parking lot of a closed store. So what did I see? Lots of things!

Honest review of the 2024 Keystone Cougar 260MLE fifth wheel

What I saw, liked, and didn’t like at the RV Open house (so far)

I have been posting reels on social media from each dealer. One of my friends responded that she was looking at a new Keystone Cougar 260MLE, so I went and checked that rig out. Nice, new, smaller fifth wheel floor plan with some surprises, including a TV that can pivot down for easier viewing and lift up and down. I like it! 

The one I saw was in their new optional midnight exterior color, which is a super groovy dark black paint with gold accents.

A huge amount of counter space in the smallest Keystone Cougar 260MLE fifth wheel

If kitchen counter space is something you like, this might make you swoon. The sheer amount of counter space in this fifth wheel is incredible with it wrapping around two sides of the interior.

A desk with a swing-out bottle cap seat in the Keystone Outback 296URK travel trailer

New Outback floor plan

While I was at Keystone, I also saw a new Outback floor plan—the 296URK. This thing has a huge kitchen counter that’s surrounded by very large windows. If you back up to a beautiful place, this might be the travel trailer for you. It also has an island in the kitchen, but the sink is at the back so the island is just prep or serving space.

Another unusual feature was a desk with a sort of bottle cap seat on a swing arm. You can swing this seat out and now you have a desk—fancy. The only thing was the seat and my own seat were vastly different in size, so I don’t know how long I could sit there, but it supported my backside so it was plenty strong. 

A rear kitchen with tremendous windows in the Keystone Outback 296URK travel trailer

Dometic 12-volt coolers

Stopping by Dometic I saw their whole line of 12-volt coolersI really like 12-volt coolers. But what was most intriguing was a sign of the futurea 48-volt air conditioner. With the increasing number of van campers and other smaller RVs, many with large battery systems like our own Rockwood Mini Lite 2205S with the Power Package, Dometic is coming on board with a new unit just for them. This operates on lower voltage and, arguably, is a more efficient AC unit. It won’t be out until next year, but we’re on board to try one!

Furrion Chill® Cube Rooftop Air Conditioner

An air conditioner I did see installed was a Furrion Chill® Cube, a new item from Lippert’s Furrion division. This unit reportedly consumes only about five amps of power under normal operation. It also has a variable speed compressor, so it can operate very efficiently or very powerfully. In fact, this is the first RV air conditioner I’ve seen that can provide up to 18,000 BTU of cooling power. It comes with a remote and that remote has a sensor on it. So if you bring it into the bedroom, it knows that that’s where you want the pre-set temperature. If you carry it into the living space, the sensor is there. 

New Keystone Outback

I saw this new Furrion Chill® Cube in a new Keystone Outback OBX 17BH. This is a very small bunk model trailer but one with some pretty snazzy features, including a new Dexter torsion axle off-road suspension. This takes the suspension we have in our Rockwood and steps it up with greater articulation and shock absorber—so it’s definitely ready for the rough stuff.

This trailer also had Lippert’s new dual-pane polycarbonate windows. They have built-in screens and privacy/thermal shades. These are similar to the European-style windows in Lance products, for example, but made in the U.S., so they are less expensive. 

The Keystone Outback OBX 17BH overlanding trailer

Rockwood Geo Pro

On the subject of smaller trailers, our friends at Rockwood have a new, very small Geo Pro in the 15FD, which is sort of like a flat pickup camper. This is a unicorn trailer in that it has a dry bath yet is under 16 feet long and weighs fewer than 3,000 pounds. It has a dinette in the front and the bathroom is along the roadside.

The toilet is in a closet that also has a fold-up sink. There was enough space around the toilet to do what you had to do. The shower is sort of in the hallway, but not quite. This arrangement gives you the ability to not have a wet bath. I was surprised at how much kitchen counter space there was, but they also put a three-burner stovetop and a real 22” oven in this. Like a pickup camper, the entry door is at the back. 

The back bedroom in the Rockwood 8338DB features a couch with flip-up foot rests and a Murphy bed

Rockwood Signature

On the opposite end of the spectrum is the new Rockwood Signature 8338DB. This is a larger, two-bedroom travel trailer. The back bedroom features a couch with flip-up footrests and a Murphy bed. It’s an unusual floor plan, but it has two separate bedrooms and it works well, for me. 

I will have more highlights tomorrow including some things I saw that were either brilliant or silly, depending on your perspective. 

More about these RV reviews

These RV reviews are written based on information provided by the manufacturers along with our writer’s own research. They are based on information from a single unit and may not reflect your actual experience. Shop your RV and dealership carefully before making a buying decision. receives no money or other financial benefits from these reviews. They are intended only as a brief overview of the vehicle, not a comprehensive critique, which would require a thorough inspection and/or test drive.

Got an RV we need to look at? Contact us today and let us know in the form below – thank you!


Tony Barthel
Tony Barthel
Tony worked at an RV dealership handling sales and warranty issues before deciding he wanted to review RVs and RV-related products. He also publishing a weekly RV podcast with his wife, Peggy, which you can find at



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Neal Davis (@guest_255653)
1 month ago

Thank you, Tony!

Bill Byerly (@guest_255327)
1 month ago

Thanks for the previews, Tony. Looking forward to the upcoming highlights.

Traveler (@guest_255273)
1 month ago

Tony, any LITTLE fifth wheels ( think Escape 5.0) coming around?

Mikal H (@guest_255224)
1 month ago

“…new optional midnight exterior color, which is a super groovy dark black paint…”

Dark colors look nice but absorb heat like crazy. My own temp-gun testing shows exterior temps 50 to 60 degrees hotter with dark colors vs light colors. I have measured temperatures exceeding 190F on black in direct sunlight @ 90F ambient. This heat readily transfers through thin RV walls and makes cooling the interior more difficult.

We have had one RV with a dark paint scheme. Never again! Looked “super groovy.” Sitting inside it while in the summer sun was anything but.

Warren G (@guest_255241)
1 month ago
Reply to  Mikal H

I was thinking the same, plus I question how well black will age without fading.

Bob P (@guest_255247)
1 month ago
Reply to  Mikal H

I never could understand why someone would buy a dark colored RV. Yes they can be beautiful on the outside but I’m positive the heat from the outside would soon be unbearable inside.

Steve H (@guest_255278)
1 month ago
Reply to  Mikal H

I did the same with my plastic AC housing. At 90 air temp in the shade, my white roof was 102 degrees and my black AC housing was 154 degrees. I took the AC housing off and painted it white with Krylon paint for plastic.

Don’t know who in the RV industry thought of it, but I would never buy a dark-colored RV! Who do you know that lives in a black “sticks-&-bricks”? No one, right?

Tommy Molnar (@guest_256040)
1 month ago
Reply to  Mikal H

Totally agree Mikal. The first thing I thought, the first time I saw a new cool looking dark colored trailer was, “Wow, that really looks nice. But, that’s GOT to absorb a lot of heat in the summer”. I remember seeing the first darker colored nose caps on trailers and thinking THEY were cool too. Then I saw what they turned into a few years down the road. All faded and discolored. Painting them seems to be the answer. My 11 year old nose cap is white – and it’s faded – but unless you stand right up next to it, you can’t tell. Is this rush to dark (even black!) colors the perfect example of “form over function”?

Donny (@guest_256122)
1 month ago
Reply to  Mikal H

I’ve said the same thing…what is with all these rv’s painted mostly black and silver. It’s got to be hotter inside and with black ac covers, I’m sure the ac has to work that much harder to cool things down. I’m guessing it’s from designers and engineers that have never traveled or camped in an rv.

Susan Banks (@guest_255199)
1 month ago

My head would explode looking at all these models, as a dealer I can not imagine spending millions on what is new and amazing. It would be incredible to go to that show and Check out the buzz,

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