As Thanksgiving looms on the horizon, it makes me think that most of us have a member of our family whose personality can change dramatically depending on circumstances. That sweet cherub of an uncle can go to an enraged politics-spouting jerk when you don’t like his brand of politics, for example.
I can see today’s RV, the Keystone Alpine 390DS (previously called an Avalanche 390DS), kind of doing the same thing. But, instead of politics being the driver of the change, this one can be altered a lot by the number of people you bring with you. What in the wide, wide, world of sports am I going on about?
Keystone Alpine 390DS
What we have here is an enormous fifth wheel that can serve a few types of camping styles. According to the specifications, this can sleep seven people. That might actually be okay depending on a variety of circumstances.
Where that could become troublesome is on a rainy day, or just as day ends and night rolls around. Yeah, yeah, there are six seats, sort of. But that seating consists of a theater seat and then four dinette chairs. So, there isn’t a place to go to just kick back unless you’re the fastest to the recliners.
Lots and lots of RVs have this type of arrangement, and many of us go camping to be outside. But I think that this could be exacerbated by just seven people playing musical chairs. This is a big space, but I can imagine it closing in a bit with that many people aboard.
But that’s not where this RV shines, and it absolutely does. I just want to be clear about where and how that glitter shows up.
Two bedrooms for real
Probably the highlight of this camper is not just that it has two absolute and distinct separate bedrooms, but also two separate and distinct bathrooms as well.
So, while this might seem to be a gigantic bunk model RV of sorts, where I do see it shining is if you travel with in-laws (or outlaws), or if you have adult children or good friends or just hobos you’ve picked up at the filling station who travel with you.
With two proper bedrooms and two proper bathrooms, each of those couples could have their own space with a middle common area that also is a nicer place to be.
The upper bedroom in this rig is typical of what you’d expect in Keystone’s Alpine line. There’s a large king-sized bed in a slide, a closet up front in the nose cap that’s larger than the one I have at my home base, and a spot that can be storage or a washer and dryer.
I like the upstairs bath, which features a larger shower typical of what you’d see in many fifth wheels. But this also sports cabinetry that incorporates a toilet paper roll in a drawer which isn’t something I’ve seen before but is something I really like.
That drawer is also very, very deep, so you could have plenty of spare rolls behind it ready just in case you didn’t quite cook that meat to the temperature it should have been.
Another thing that Keystone deserves a standing ovation for is that there is actually a spot for a trash can in the upper bathroom. That trash can is in a cabinet area so you don’t have to see it when you’re not using it.
I’ve certainly seen more lavish bathrooms in RVs before, but never one that was this useful in the real world.
The second bedroom, all the way in the drop frame at the very back of this rig, is also not a bad place to be. It features a proper queen-sized bed and no shortage of drawer and hanging storage.
This bed, too, is in a slide room. That means there are cross-breeze windows, so it’s not unpleasant as long as the weather cooperates.
This bathroom is all the way at the rear of the rig and spans the full width of the trailer—so it’s not small. But it is under a loft, as is this whole area, so headroom isn’t great. This is definitely not the place for taller travelers, and this is especially apparent in the shower.
But the rest of the space is quite usable.
One thing, though, that’s just dumb. There is an entry door to this bathroom at the very back of the trailer, which I really like. But who was it who specified a door with a window but not a shade or blind over the window?
There is a loft above the rear bedroom, which is why the headroom in that spot is a bit compromised. This is a huge area and Keystone includes three “Teddy Bear” mattresses that rest on the carpeted floor of the loft.
Clearly, this space could be used to sleep three people. It’s certainly a larger space, so those people could be of the adult variety.
But if you don’t want that many folks camping with you, perhaps this space would be more useful for storage of stuff.
While seating isn’t this RV’s strong suit, it does have a terrific kitchen. There is a ton of cabinet and drawer storage here along with an island and space next to the three-burner stovetop. There’s also a deep counter at the front of the space, so you have a lot of counter space.
There is another cabinet where there are two trash cans—if you ever find an RV park that actually practices recycling. Seriously, we’re all venturing out into nature, but few RV parks support even the lamest attempt at preserving said nature. This always drives me nuts—not like that’s a major journey of any sort.
I also like that this sports an 18-cubic-foot refrigerator and it’s a 12-volt model. Argue all you want, but these are intended to live in a mobile environment and are meant for withstanding life on the road.
Some companies seem to do more with their RV offerings, and I think Keystone is one of those.
For example, in this unit, the slide rooms offer 6’10” of ceiling height. The slides have also been made deeper for 2024.
This also features a Road Armor suspension system, which offers greater suspension travel. Further, there’s a Road Armor shock-absorbing hitch as well.
Keystone is one of the few companies that tests their RVs in a climate chamber. The company reports that this unit is rated to -4° independently. I’ve written before about other Keystone features but, suffice it to say, I think the company does a really good job with what they do.
Boondocking and travel access
I suspect that a rig like this is not likely to be used for quick overnights. So the fact that it’s pretty inaccessible with the slides in doesn’t make a big difference to a lot of buyers. Still, you can access both bathrooms and a portion of the fridge, so it’s not all bad news.
This trailer comes with Keystone’s SolarFlex Protect 220, which is a 220-watt solar panel on the roof. You can also upgrade to twice as many panels in their SolarFlex 440i package, which also includes an inverter. Keystone has partnered with Dragonfly (known as Battle Born in retail parlance), and dealers can now install those products readily.
I can see this floor plan serving some camping styles very well and others not so well. But that’s on who goes with you and what you’re used to rather than anything else.
I also suspect that people who travel with a lot of kids are used to them being around, whereas this isn’t something I am used to. Your perspective may differ from mine—imagine that.
There is a community of people who haul larger fifth wheels with commercial-duty trucks like this one. Honestly, this is a very large unit and you’ll want to be very careful. If you’re bringing your whole family along plus hauling this rig around, make sure you have the numbers to do it safely. Of course, that’s the same consideration for all those people overloading Subarus with tiny trailers.
A few things to note. This does have a drop frame in the back to accommodate that bedroom. I have friends who have a different fifth wheel but one that also has a drop frame and they’ve scraped it more than once. I remember a few RVs with giant caster wheels at the back when I was a kid. Might be time to reinstate these.
This also has a lot of holding tank capacity, but the front and rear tanks are separate so you get a connection for each one.
Lastly, the recliners in this are the power-operated ones, which aren’t uncommon. But I can recline and sit back up much more quickly myself than when having to wait for a motor to do it. I’m not a fan of power recliners, but maybe that’s just me. When shopping for our new truck I was hoping I could find manual windows, but that’s living in the past.
If you travel with another couple or bring along a family, I wonder if you think this would serve you well? I like the kitchen in here as well as the upper bathroom.
Though, come on Keystone, no shade in the back bathroom is just dumb. Considering how many home runs there are here, that’s something that was too easily missed.
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. We receive 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.
Tony comes to RVtravel.com having worked at an RV dealership and been a life long RV enthusiast. He also has written the syndicated Curbside column about cars. He also works closely with a number of RV manufacturers to get an inside look at how things are done and is a brand ambassador for Rockwood Mini Lite with his wife, Peggy.
You can also check out his RV podcast with his wife, Peggy.
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