By Tony Barthel
I’m always on the hunt for interesting and new RVs to share with you. Sometimes I get word from friends in the industry about a new model that is literally just arriving in their dealership. This was the case with the Coachmen Freedom Express Ultra Lite 252RBS.
This brand-new floor plan is a well-thought-out design for couples. It certainly checks a lot of features on my own list. Not that I have new-RV fever or anything…
For example, this trailer features a real queen-sized bed, but the bedroom has more than just that. The entire mattress lifts up on struts, as you would expect, and under that are two sort of, well, mini-dressers (for lack of a better description). Each of these features a drawer, which you can open with the mattress down, and also a shoe cubby beneath it. That means each camper actually has a place to put their shoes!
Sometimes I wonder if RV designers even wear shoes, since so few RVs have provisions to store them.
There’s also a closet on either side of the bed, as you would expect. There’s also a windshield so you can look out from the bedroom and see what’s in front of the trailer. This can be great for observing other campers.
Between those two mini-dressers is another storage space. It seems that a pet kennel might fit in here if that’s something you would be interested in. It’s rare that I spend this much time talking about just the bedroom of a travel trailer – but this one has some truly unique features.
Out in the main body of the trailer, Coachmen has provided theater seating with heat which is directly opposite the flat-screen TV and electric fireplace at the rear of the trailer. While the theater seating is an option, you could substitute a hide-a-bed sofa. The theater seating fully reclines so it’s great for a cat nap or just sitting there, enjoying the indoor space on those days when it’s not so fun to be outdoors.
There is a single slide in this trailer in which there is a booth dinette. The first thing I thought when I saw this is that I’d take my screw gun and pull out the dinette and substitute a desk. This kind of modification misbehavior on my part is how I got into trouble with our existing trailer, whose couch is long gone.
The kitchen itself has a small amount of counter space but there is a hidden table we’ll talk about that can solve this. There’s the usual three-burner stove and this one features the lousy 16” oven. Your choice in refrigeration is of either gas-electric absorption or 12-volt compressor-based.
If you like floor space in the bathroom, particularly on the porcelain pedestal, this might be the trailer for you. The bathroom is quite big and that extends to leg room on the king’s throne. In fact, the whole trailer seems well suited for taller travelers with an interior ceiling height of 6’ 9”.
In the bathroom, one wall is lined with cupboards along the top that have a provision to hang clothes or just put your “stuff.” You’ll also find that the heater ducts in the bathroom are aimed right at the toilet and shower so you will get a little assistance drying off should the furnace be on. In fact, there are no heater ducts in the floor of this trailer.
My only knock on the bathroom is that mediocre bathroom fan – but since the opening is already wired, it’d be easy to have your dealer install a high-performance fan and vent cover. Trust me, it’ll be worth the money.
Those cabinets in the bathroom sit high because on the other side of the bathroom wall is a pretty decent outdoor kitchen with a very large 120-vac refrigerator and a proper plumbed sink and drain. Cooking comes from a flat-top griddle from Suburban that is similar to the Blackstone griddles that so many RVers are all excited about. In this case, there’s a provision to hang it from an outside wall with a propane fitting to attach it to. You can also have it on a picnic table if you choose. Coachmen includes a plastic folding table with the trailer in a hanging spot in the front baggage compartment, so if there’s no picnic table,you’re not out of luck.
I could see using this table inside the camper as additional prep space or using it outside to augment the outdoor kitchen. What’s slick about this is that they’ve provided that hanging storage for it so it almost doesn’t affect the pass-through storage at the front of the trailer.
When I was selling trailers, the delivery guys would love these trailers with the axles spread farther apart, telling me how well they towed. So the spread axles are a big plus for towing, particularly with half-ton trucks.
Another feather in its cap is the fact that almost the whole trailer is completely accessible with the slide room in. So you can pack the trailer in your driveway without opening the slide or even enjoy a pit stop on your journey without any issues accessing anything but the TV and the theater seats.
There is a lot to like about this trailer as a couple’s camper and it checks almost all of my personal boxes. If it weren’t for the small oven and cheap bathroom fan I think it might be a home run for me. Another plus is that Coachmen is using Azdel as a substrate in the wall construction and the trailer is prewired for roof-top solar or portable solar panels.
One thing that’s not unique to this outdoor kitchen is the 120-vac outdoor refrigerator which, of course, can only work when you’re plugged into shore power or a generator. This is true of any 120-vac device but I wish the manufacturers would find someone to provide these fridges in 12-volt so you could use them when boondocking or pre-chill them when traveling. Still, it’s a pretty big fridge outside – so you take the good with the bad.
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.