By Tony Barthel
A week ago I looked at two fifth wheels that call themselves half-ton towable, the Grand Design Reflection 150 Series 295RL and the Keystone Cougar 24RDS. I got more than a few replies asking for a Flagstaff equivalent and, always looking to acquiesce, I chose the brand-new Flagstaff 524EWS.
This is a new floor plan for Flagstaff. There’s a corresponding Rockwood model in the Rockwood Ultra Lite 2445WS (same RV, different stickers essentially). (See video below.)
In many ways the two RVs that I wrote about last week and this model are fairly similar in dimensions. The Cougar was 7,396 pounds and 28’6” long. The Grand Design was 32’9” long and weighed 8,749 pounds. This model is 7,764 pounds and 28’11” in length.
One of the things I do when I look at an RV of any sort is determine how usable it is with the slide rooms in, if it has any. While really large RVs are much more likely to find a spot and stay there for extended periods of time, smaller ones like these three fifth wheels are probably going to see more road time.
That means that, partway to wherever they’re going, they’re going to have to fill fuel or unload your own personal black water tanks, if you know what I mean. There are plenty of RVs where you’ll be putting slide rooms out, at least partway, to accomplish this. Flagstaff’s engineers absolutely nailed it with this design. In other words, you can get to the fridge, stove, some of the cabinets and the bathroom without putting out the slides. In a trailer this size, that makes perfect sense.
What you won’t be able to get to is a chunk of the pantry storage, though But let’s talk about this layout in general.
The grand tour of the Flagstaff 524EWS fifth wheel
Flagstaff and Rockwood offer a number of options. The first option is in the seating areas. Right inside the door is a tri-fold couch, but you can opt for theater seats instead if you like. I can’t imagine not checking this box. This is because the theater seats have heat and recline PLUS each armrest has a cubby in it. In addition, there’s storage in the center armrest as well as power and USB connectors. These theater seats are directly across from the TV.
The next option will be in the downstairs slide. This can house a booth with a free-standing table that can fold down and become a bed. Or, you could outfit this with a freestanding table and chairs instead.
Beyond that is a pretty sizable storage area with two cabinet doors. But, surprise, you can also open the TV in the middle and there’s a decent amount of storage behind that as well. This is the storage that would be blocked by the slide. So that’s something to consider if you’re wanting to access things during trips.
The kitchen of the Flagstaff 524EWS
Next to that is the fridge – and here’s another choice. You can choose either a gas-electric RV fridge or a 12-volt compressor-based fridge. If you go all-electric, that option package includes 190 watts of solar on the roof, a solar charge controller and a 1,000-watt inverter.
The counter in the kitchen is quite long but, to make it so, it sort of goes behind the fridge. This might be a good place for plug-in appliances if you have those with you. There is a plug back there to facilitate this, but it’s more of a cubby than anything.
That’s true of the storage in the cabinets overhead. This area is served by a door over the sink, but it’s a deep cabinet and you’ll want something that you can reach from that door. There are other cabinets as well that go almost the length of the countertop with the exception of where the microwave is. We found baskets with handles from the dollar store. I think these would work well in this situation.
Incidentally, lots of RVs have tiny microwaves. But Flagstaff literally puts a sticker on theirs bragging that it can hold a dinner plate. There’s also an under-mount stainless steel sink with a split cover and a three-burner stove with a 22” oven.
Upstairs in the Flagstaff 524EWS
As you head upstairs, you’ll pass the control panel that has a series of switches that would be familiar to any RVer. If you’ve ordered the solar option, there will also be a GoPower charge system control panel. Both of these systems work just fine with the buttons you should be familiar with. But they’ll also work using an app on your smartphone. That means you can extend slides or illuminate some lights and such with the phone from outside.
The bathroom is a decent size. The shower features a seat/step in it molded into the structure. The bathroom has a swinging door, which isn’t unusual except that it can block the hallway partially. I’m not sure how they’d put a pocket door in here – which is probably why they didn’t.
The bedroom features a queen-sized gel memory foam mattress with a series of drawers on the nightstand of the road side. In addition, on the same side there’s a wardrobe slide with two hanging compartments – one with shelves.
Cool features in the Flagstaff 524EWS Fifth Wheel
There are a number of features that are worth noting in this trailer. The first of these is the fact that all the locks use the same key from baggage to entry doors. Smart.
The outside storage, under the raised floor, is heated. Flagstaff was quick to point out that they use flooring specifically for this compartment rather than extending the interior flooring, as is customary. This makes for a more durable surface.
Speaking of heat, the standard 12-volt tank heaters are thermostatically controlled. This way you can operate them when rolling down the road without worrying about killing your battery.
I like that there’s an outside kitchen that features a flat-top griddle and a table that slides into a rail. Plus there’s a 110vac bar-sized refrigerator in a compartment there. Next to all of this is a spray port that features both hot and cold water.
The suspension is a torsion axle independent design with 16” E-rated Goodyear Endurance tires. It features an in-wheel tire pressure monitoring system similar to what’s in a vehicle.
I used this same statement in both reviews last week. If you look at Ford’s Towing Guide document, this is well within the capability of the most well-equipped F-150 with the 3.5L EcoBoost V6 or 5.0L V8. Those have a cargo-carrying capacity of more than 3,000 pounds and towing capacities of at least 13,000 pounds.
As with any towing situation, you’re going to want to pay attention to how much you’re towing as well as either pin weight or tongue weight, depending on what you’re towing. My feeling about towing is never to go above 70% of capability. I always recommend taking your complete RV to a scale to have it weighed so you’re safe.
I like the floor plan of the Flagstaff 524EWS Fifth Wheel a lot. It’s easily towable and short enough that you won’t be too concerned about getting into a lot of places larger fifth wheels might not fit into. While I would rather have a sliding door in the bathroom, as I wrote, I’m not sure how this would work – maybe an accordion door. But I know there are people who dislike those so physics rule here.
Another thing is when you look at how the dinette is built as well as the frame of the bed. You’ll notice that both are welded aluminum structures rather than wood. This is an area where a lot of RV manufacturers cut corners because many shoppers don’t pay attention to this.
Of these three lighter/smaller fifth wheels, which one do I prefer? Doesn’t matter. But there are distinct differences that may make a world of difference to you as someone who will be a more likely buyer. However, none of these are bad choices as smaller, but still fully capable, fifth wheels.
These RV reviews are written based on information provided by the manufacturers along with our writer’s own research. 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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