There was a lot of interesting inventory at the 2023 FROG International Rally in Goshen, Indiana, but one of the RVs that got a tremendous amount of attention was the Palomino Pause 20.3 overlanding travel trailer. We’ve looked at these in the past, but it was interesting to go and touch and see it for myself.
What is the Palomino Pause
Forest River’s Palomino Division may not be at the top of your list if you’re into overlanding unless you’re aware of their Pause line. Of course, some owners of pickup campers likely have shopped the Palomino line, especially in their pop-up camper line. We’ve covered several Palomino RV products in the past.
The Pause line is not only a complete departure from the company’s other products but is quite a departure in the entire RV space.
Starting at the frame, this is an aluminum frame that is huck riveted together rather than welded. Many RVs have enclosed underbellies but this one is enclosed with diamond plate metal. Typically a corrugated plastic material is what you’ll see used.
While we’re down here let’s take a look at the suspension, which is a MORryde independent air suspension. Independent suspensions are becoming more common with our first seeing them coming from Australian RVs and then migrating to the Ember line.
This air suspension goes to the next level as the air suspension on this can be raised and lowered. At its top setting, the suspension provides up to 25 inches of ground clearance. But then you can lower the suspension once you’re at your destination so that you can get in and out more easily or take advantage of the outside kitchen.
One of the reasons towable RVs are such an aerodynamic disaster is just that you’re pulling a huge box behind you and it just takes some power to overcome the wind resistance. You can also lower the suspension such that the trailer isn’t as high in the air, which may help with this wind resistance, but then raise the suspension as you go over a driveway apron or hit the trail.
For aerodynamic reasons alone I bet this MORryde suspension is going to be popular in a year or two.
Since there’s a provision for compressed air to operate the suspension, you can also use this to fill tires.
On the subject of tires, there are four that touch the ground on the initial releases of the Pause, but they also include two spares. The assumption is that you’re going to go to places that are barely places and you may pop a tire. Or two.
It’s not just the chassis and suspension where this model stands out. The walls are a new composite material from a company called Ridge Corporation in Ohio. Their TransCore™ walls are a different type of construction than you’ll typically find in RVs, and Palomino had a sample of the wall at the RV dealer open house event. And a big, big sledgehammer.
Dylan Risser of Palomino took the big sledgehammer and gave the wall all he had, and the wall was just fine.
Not only is this a different type of wall material, but then the interiors of the walls are 3D printed onto the wall surface. Inside the Pause, there are examples of subway tiles and other interiors.
The advantage of this is that the walls are seamless, unlike in most RVs, but also don’t use a wallpaper-like product. That means there are no seams on the interiors, either, which is a place where the seam tape fails with great regularity on many RVs.
Further, all the holes for the windows are cut with a CNC machine so they’re very precise. While this isn’t typical in the RV industry, I know Lance uses the same process for holes in the wall.
I have seen more than one RV factory where a worker with a router simply free-cuts the holes in the RV walls. Yikes.
Another area where the materials are different is in the cabinetry, which is a powder-coated aluminum structure. There are soft-close hinges on the cabinets, but this is a bit more industrial feeling than some might be used to. However, it’s also more tank-like than most towables, so that’s a plus.
One more area where these are different is in the technology behind them. Palomino has partnered with Garmin to provide a whole-RV monitoring system.
Many RVers are already familiar with Garmin as they have made navigation systems for many years, but they actually do much more than that. In the marine industry, they have full-house… er… full-boat control systems, and that’s what you have here.
Using an included Garmin tablet, you can operate just about any system on the Pause.
With the tablet you can raise and lower the suspension, including to levels pre-set by you, operate the lights, monitor tank levels and almost every other aspect of the RV. Further, you can employ your own phone and tablet to do this, as well.
But the Garmin device, called ONE, that’s included also incorporates navigation, of course. That navigation accommodates the length and height of your total vehicle so you won’t go where you won’t fit.
The term ONE is actually an acronym for Operation, Navigation and Entertainment.
I haven’t had a chance to fiddle with that system yet, but I’m hoping to and will share a full review. I do know that it also incorporates things like customizable checklists—and that’s a good thing.
What’s it like
In the past, I had spoken with Dylan Risser and seen videos, but this was a chance to step inside the Pause and touch it. There is a pattern to the metal cabinet doors and the choice of colors and surfaces really does not have a cold feeling at all.
Interestingly, many of the trailers intended for overlanding and off-road use also have a rather commercial feel to them, with fixtures and lighting that belies their lofty prices.
This trailer just feels like something high-end. And, truthfully, people associate Airstream products as being at the top of the market, but I suspect the Pause could easily give them a run for their money.
Further, the more boxy shape of these gives them an open feel even though this is a narrow-body build. Perhaps that window over the bed and couch and the front windshield are a big factor in this perception.
The side-by-side 12-volt refrigerator, huge oven, and nice counter make the kitchen feel up-market.
But the metal shelf on the camp-side wall that can be a table or even be folded out to add more sleeping space still reminds you you’re in something that is more heavy-duty and rugged.
The interior that I saw are a two-tone affairs with the aforementioned printed wall surfaces. The cabinets are green and white, which may make Army veterans either happy or not.
And thank you for your service.
There is a big, movable wall in a back locker with its own entry steps. Behind that is a large storage spot that’s pretty well-outfitted to tote fishing poles or guns. I can imagine this trailer would absolutely appeal to hunters and people who enjoy fishing.
There’s also an overhead window in addition to the dual-pane one over the bed area. This large overhead window also opens for airflow and, of course, there is a high-performance vent fan in here, as well.
In addition to the indoor kitchen, this one also has an outdoor kitchen—and this is what I think an outdoor kitchen should be. There’s a flat-top and barbecue griddle plus a 12-volt cooler. These are both on a sliding drawer arrangement.
The standard solar and power package on these units is 700 watts of solar with dual 60-amp chargers along with 400-amp-hours of lithium power. Standard.
You can also plug in portable panels up to 600 watts, giving you a total of 1,300 watts of solar. There is also one option—a second 400-amp-hour lithium battery.
This is one incredible package of power, but absolutely fits the nature of this beast.
Boondocking and travel access
Of course, a rig with tires like this and an adjustable suspension and all the other things that make up a build like this should be great off the grid—and this one absolutely is. There is a Showermi$er to save water, and even traction pads if you get stuck going where you’re going.
There is no slide room here, so everything is always accessible, although this is a folding Murphy bed. But, you could just leave it open all the time if you choose to.
It’s going to take a while for this model to catch on but, for those for whom this model fits their use case, I don’t think there’s an RV better suited. The floor plan, materials, design, and feel of this are absolutely unique in a good way. They’re not different just to be different.
I think that some of the things in here could also be adapted to more mainstream models, though using this caliber of material isn’t going to ever result in a cheap RV. But I think there’s room for something that can compete with Airstream and not be a total throwback to the 1950s.
Overall I hope Palomino sticks with this unique line, and I’m sure there will be buyers who seek these out over time. Those for whom this is appropriate certainly will be rewarded with something different and, yes, better.
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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.
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