By Tony Barthel
When I was selling RVs one of the units we sold quite a few of was the Keystone Springdale 242RK. Part of the reason for that was the housing shortage in the area we were located, with people buying them as full-time living quarters (shh, don’t tell anybody). But the other reason is that this was a very, very usable couples’ camper with optional sleeping space in the event someone crashed the party.
The Springdale line of travel trailers is built in the manner in which travel trailers have been built for a very long time. In the industry, these are referred to as “stick-and-tin” trailers, which means wood framing and corrugated aluminum skin. This is the less expensive way of building trailers but offers advantages including being easily repaired in the event that one of those pesky trees jumps out at you or something of that sort.
As with any way of doing things, there are variations in the methodology and we liked that Keystone used a 24’ x 8’ sheet of plywood in the floor that they referred to as “Dyna Span” subflooring. The benefit of this is that there are no seams along any trailer with a cabin shorter than 24 feet in length.
This Dyna Span flooring was mounted on a frame specifically built for this floor plan so any holes or other voids in the steel would only be there for a reason. That frame also included full-width outriggers.
I remember when Springdale, and other Keystone brands, introduced three-year structural warranties and made them transferable – kind of a big deal. But, on the subject of warranties, our experience with these was that they didn’t need a lot of attention from the warranty department – Springdale was one of those brands we just relied on to build solid units.
While it’s easy to evaluate a floor plan just by looking at those illustrations provided by manufacturers, that doesn’t tell the story about how spacious these units felt. With a single slide room in the main area of the trailer, this rear-kitchen floor plan really felt spacious.
As someone whose gravitational pull is above average, I also liked that the dining table was not permanently mounted so I could sit at the table across from someone built like a supermodel and we would each have the table at an appropriate distance for enjoying a beer.
Now, to find that supermodel who wants to have a beer with me in a travel trailer…
With the couch under a large window opposite the dining table, it made for a nice space for entertaining as well.
Under the skin, Springdale uses a color-coded wiring system so if there is an electrical issue, the wire colors are consistent from model to model. This might sound like a no-brainer for anyone who has worked on vehicles but it’s surprisingly unique in the RV industry.
As with any “stick-and-tin” trailer, owners are well-advised to pay attention to seals and voids in the surface area. Since windows don’t sit on a flat surface there is more sealant than there might be on a laminated trailer, and this is just one of the areas where water intrusion can happen.
Those who are diligent about maintenance likely won’t have a problem, but many, many owners are not so there are just more opportunities for the weather to join you inside this nice space.
Springdale, like other Keystone brands, also has what they refer to as 4G LTE and WiFi readiness but this is a system that requires hardware upgrades and a service plan. You’re better off just getting something like a cell phone booster, which I reviewed elsewhere.
As mentioned, this is one of the most livable and usable travel trailers I’ve come across. It’s not too big, not too small, and has a great layout. And stick-and-tin trailers are the more affordable type, so this could be a great and very affordable choice.