Today’s RV review is of the new-for-2024 Keystone Outback Ultra-Lite 296URK. This is a large travel trailer that shows how the RV industry is listening to requests from you. Yes, you! Well, and maybe a few of your friends.
What we have here is a larger camper for couples that is more in line with what you might expect from the Outback brand but with some things that really made me happy.
But what’s really neat, to me, is when I was talking to Christy Spencer, Keystone’s Director of Marketing, and she was as excited about this new floor plan as I am.
What’s inside the Outback 296URK
There are probably two big things that really make this floor plan stand out. The first of those is the kitchen. Located all the way at the back of this trailer, the kitchen spans the width of the rear of the trailer. That isn’t that unusual, but being surrounded by really large windows is.
The kitchen countertop forms a large “U”. The way Keystone accomplished the windows in this is to put the microwave below the counter on one side and the three-burner stove with 17” oven on the other.
While this might reduce the amount of overhead cabinets, it absolutely makes backing this trailer up to a beautiful view worth doing. You get these incredible views of places through large windows, and I really like this.
It’s not like there is a real shortage of storage in the kitchen—with seven standard-sized drawers, two larger drawers and then a large pantry, as well. So the design really works.
Plus, there’s quite a bit of counter space in the kitchen, which is bolstered by an island. Oh yeah, and there’s storage in the island as well. But, dummy me, I didn’t take pictures of the camp side of the island so I don’t know how much.
This design works
Another thing that I saw in here was a desk with a seat. Not just a half-way solution, but a real, proper desk with four more drawers. At least I took pictures of those, for Pete’s sake.
Like many companies, Keystone has been hearing from all those people who work from the road and made a place where they can do just that. The desk in here is on the camp side in the slide and incorporates a decently large desk, four drawers and what I call a bottle cap seat.
That seat is on a pivoting mount that allows the seat to swivel out. As some of you already know, I displace a lot of water in the pool. So when I first saw this I was a bit ginger with my tush so I didn’t bust the seat right off the mount. But, nope. My posterior and the seat were just fine working together.
There’s also a pop-up tower of power here with two household outlets and a USB A and USB C outlet, as well.
The rest of the story
The rest of the interior isn’t going to be shocking to anyone. There’s a choice of either a two-place hide-a-bed, as well as a booth dinette with the “Dream Dinette” table that hangs from the wall (like the desk stool!) and is easy to convert to a bed.
Keystone does a good job with the dinette in that you have flip-up cushions that provide storage beneath them. You can also get theater seats instead of the couch, and a table and chairs in place of the dinette.
Walking through the rig, the bathroom was certainly big enough to do whatever you might think should be done in there with no interference from walls. This is a corner radius shower, which I would like better with a flexible shower door rather than glass, but glass is pretty common.
The bed in here is a proper queen-size bed with nicely sized tables on either side and big windows for cross-flow breezes.
If you’ve seen Outback offerings in the past few years, you’ll know that somewhere, someone decided that the cabinets should be almost black. This made Outback trailers feel small to my eyes. So seeing the new decor in this 2024 model with light woods and attractive patterns on the wall was very refreshing—and I liked that. Add those big windows and ooh la la!
I’ve written before how Keystone works to set themselves apart with their “Innovation Lab.” The SolarFlex system is just one of many things that Keystone’s Innovation Lab has come up with.
This also has something called a Blade Pure air conditioning system that Keystone reports provides about 20% increased air conditioning performance. But it also features a filtration system like you might have in your home. That system even incorporates filters you would likely find at a local hardware store.
Almost no RVs have filtered AC systems, yet we take them where there is dust and bugs and all of that.
Keystone also has a wiring system where all their offerings are wired intentionally such that a blue wire on this rig does the same thing as a blue wire on your neighbor’s Keystone.
This might sound like a no brainer but is, again, highly unusual in the RV industry. Further, being intentional about the wiring makes diagnosing an issue that may arise easier. It also means that there is a much lower likelihood of an issue arising in the first place. The fuses, too, are the more expensive automotive-style bus fuses which are higher in quality but available at any auto parts store if something goes awry.
Outback products also use a composite laminated floor called HyperDeck™ flooring. It uses all man-made materials for a lesser chance that there would be an issue.
More to like
There are a few more items worth mentioning, such as the tankless water heater.
These models are also certified for 0°-100°F performance. The underbelly is heated and enclosed, plus there are 12-volt heating pads on the holding tanks.
I also like this outdoor kitchen with a small, bar-sized fridge and a propane flat-top griddle.
Solar, boondocking and power
Since I mentioned the power outlets, it’s good to note how Keystone does solar and power. All Keystone products, no matter how affordable, get at least 200 watts of solar in something the company calls their SolarFlex system.
In addition, for 2023, this actually comes from Keystone with two 100 amp-hour lithium batteries that incorporate internal heaters.
The way Keystone is doing things, you can add factory-supplied bits to the SolarFlex system, including bigger batteries, more solar panels and an inverter. Those pieces and their installation are covered under the company’s warranty.
There are a variety of configurations under the SolarFlex umbrella—from a simple one with just 200 watts of solar and inverter prep, to incredible systems with 1200 watts of solar and dual inverters. The number of choices makes Keystone a leader in this area.
That’s a big deal, as I think that a lot of RV dealerships still aren’t very familiar with solar and high-performance battery systems. So simplifying it and standardizing systems is a huge step forward.
A few challenges
No RV is perfect, of course, so the things I keep mentioning keep popping up. In fact I brought up those worthless 17” ovens to anyone who would listen at RV Open House and, of course, lots of RV folks had lots of excuses why they keep using these. Don’t worry, between you and me, we’ll get them deleted eventually or just replaced with better ovens.
Might as well include those four-inch fart fans in the bathrooms. Give me high-performance fans or give me smells. Well, you’ll have smells if you don’t have good fans.
The combination of very usable features, that desk, those glorious windows and the new interior show that Keystone is listening to what consumers have been saying. This would be a great couple’s camper when you have to get some work done, especially if you’re like me and you try to find pretty places to go get that work done in.
As of this writing, Keystone doesn’t have the numbers posted on its website for the Outback 296URK, so there is no chart for this trailer.
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. RVtravel.com 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.
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