By Tony Barthel
Fifth wheel and motorhome buyers have had decided reasons for buying each configuration, oftentimes dictated by under-floor cargo space. But Forest River’s Palomino division has thrown a new choice into the ring with their new River Ranch fifth wheels that feature under-floor storage almost the entire length of the body of the coach.
EDITOR’S NOTE: These reviews are not based on an actual physical inspection or test drive of an RV (with exceptions). We gather and interpret information from RV manufacturers and other sources to try to provide you with a sneak-peek of each model that we discuss in this space 365 days a year.
Up to now, fifth wheels have a raised section and a lower section with the roof line dictating interior height. Part of this was dictated by overall vehicle height limits so the fifth wheels, and their air conditioners, could go under overpasses and such. But the folks at Palomino have come up with a good solution for this.
By utilizing a Coleman-Mach air conditioning system that is typically found in mobile offices, they were able to create a fifth wheel with a single tall roof height for the entire trailer. Furthermore, by doing so they were able to put storage almost the entire length of the trailer facilitating over 480 cubic feet of under-floor pass-through storage. That is actually more than what can be found in many motorhomes.
The Coleman-Mach AC system has mostly been used before on mobile offices rather than RVs. It has a robust filtration system like those used on homes, implementing a 5-inch x 16-inch x 22-inch air filter, which cleans the intake air for both the AC and Suburban furnace. The HVAC system uses the same ductwork for the AC and furnace.
At debut two floor plans will be available, a mid-bath model and a mid-bunk model.
The River Ranch models have an 84-inch ceiling height end-to-end and no stairs inside, being all a single level. This may make owning one of these easier for folks who have trouble with stairs although, of course, there are still stairs to get into the unit.
Owing to the size of this trailer, Palomino fits them all with residential-grade appliances including refrigerator and stove. There is also a tankless water heater as well.
Options include a gas/electric RV refrigerator, a 5.5kW generator, dual-pane windows, and washer-dryer.
These have fully laminated construction and feature Azdel substrates in the build process so water intrusion is less of a concern. Roof trusses are still wood but this is not uncommon, especially in larger fifth wheels such as this one.
For people looking at full-time RVing, this Palomino River Ranch fifth wheel is a true alternative to other fifth wheels or motorhomes. Offering more cargo space than many motorhomes and a flat floor end-to-end, this is a significant model. The HVAC system, too, breaks new ground.
The big decision might be if someone wants to tow around a trailer that can weigh 18,000 pounds.
The MSRP of the RV is $107,360.
Please leave a comment with your thoughts, pro or con, if you own this model RV or a similar one.