Saturday, December 3, 2022


RV Review: 2021 Flagstaff Super Lite 526RK Fifth Wheel


By Tony Barthel
Let’s say you were one of my wife’s friends and were part of their girl camping gang. When they all go camping together they bring the food… and the fun. The Flagstaff Super Lite 526RK Fifth Wheel might really impress them. Why? I honestly don’t think I’ve ever seen more counter space in a rig that was perfectly suited for a buffet. 

This RV was suggested for review by Laura Stephens. Thank you, Laura!

Oh, that counter space!

The Flagstaff 526RK is a small fifth wheel. Well, small as far fifth wheels go, that is. It features a rear kitchen with what almost seems like a wraparound counter top. It’s gigantic! It stretches from the entry door all the way to the rear of the rig and then makes a right turn and stretches almost the entire width of the trailer. This is some serious counter space. 

You could, quite literally, hold one elaborate buffet line in here. All that countertop is solid surface, so no worries about that one drunk guest damaging it when they spill their wine. The all-vinyl flooring, too, is pretty damage-resistant. There is carpeting on the slide room, though, so keep your red-wine-drinking friends off the furniture. 

As you enter, along the left below the counter is an electric fireplace. Some have criticized this feature in their comments on these reviews. Sometimes, though, these fireplaces do make sense. They provide heat and use electric power to do so, so you’re not using your propane when you have a full-hookup site. Plus, you can get the AC unit in this 5er with a heat strip. That means, in theory, on cooler nights you only have to use electrical power to heat the rig. 

I’m jumping ahead, but this rig is wired for 50-amp service, so there is a provision for a second air conditioner in the bedroom if you choose. 

Back to the living quarters in the Flagstaff 526RK

There’s a TV on top of the fireplace which swings open to reveal storage space behind it. On either side of the TV is more cabinet storage. The cabinets follow the countertops, so there’s a tremendous amount of storage. You’ll need it for storing all those buffet leftovers.

The two places where the “L”-shaped countertop are broken up are at the range, which features a three-burner cooktop and a 22” oven with a light, and at the dual-bowl under-mount stainless steel sink. 

Since someone with this much counter space might also want to use things like crock pots or air fryers and that sort of thing, there are two pop-up power towers that each have two 120vac electrical outlets as well as two USB 12-volt outlets on them. 

Rounding the corner, we come to the first of two slides in this trailer. This one holds the gas-electric refrigerator and a very large U-shaped dinette. 

Flagstaff and its sister brand, Rockwood, are unusual in the RV industry in that they offer many customizable options in their rigs. One of those is to swap this large dinette for theater seating. 

If you make that choice, you’ll have two theater seats that offer heat and massage. There are lighted cup holders and a center armrest. That armrest flips up and reveals storage plus a 120vac outlet and USB charging as well. 

Lastly, there’s a couch on the wall against the upper deck, which can fold out for sleeping if you choose. Also, according to the sales literature, this couch is padded with memory foam. 

Movin’ on up…stairs

Upstairs in the Flagstaff 526RK, the bathroom features a radius shower stall and a small stainless steel sink. 

There is a wardrobe in a slide in the upper deck that extends into the bathroom. The bedroom features a north-south facing queen-sized residential mattress. 

One of the nifty things about Flagstaff trailers is that they use a lot of aluminum framing. When you lift the mattress, which is made easy through the use of gas struts, you see the welded aluminum framing extends even to the mattress base. 

This is pretty unusual, as many RVs that claim to be framed in aluminum are, but it is limited to the side walls. Flagstaff has aluminum framing in beds, dinettes, walls (including slide box walls), ceilings, roofs and floors. 

All those surfaces are laminated in the company’s own laminating plant. I will verify this, but I do believe the fifth wheels still use a Luan substrate, which Flagstaff claims is more structurally solid. It’s funny: Keystone’s Cougar brand uses Azdel because they claim it’s more structurally solid. 

Outside we go

Outside, all the baggage doors feature slam latches and magnetic catches. The windows are frameless tilt-out. I’ve heard some owners complain that they don’t let in as much air as sliding windows, but Flagstaff has two high-performance vent fans in this unit so I can’t see ventilation as much of a challenge here. To the point of those baggage doors, all new Flagstaff trailers use a single key to lock all exterior doors including the baggage and entry doors. 

Flagstaff also uses a Dexter Torflex® axle suspension system on these and the trailers ride on 15” Goodyear Endurance tires. There is also a TST tire pressure monitoring system included. While a lot of trailers have really lousy tires, tire maintenance is a huge factor and knowing the inflation pressure and temperature of tires can truly save lives. Kudos to Flagstaff for including this in addition to using a high-quality tire. 

Another thing I’ve mentioned in the past is the fact that Flagstaff trailers offer proper switches to control all the major components. Here, there’s also the option of using your smartphone via an app to control much of the functionality of the trailer. I like this arrangement as it gives you full control without having to use the app. But you also have the option of doing so if you’re into that. The choice is always appreciated.

The hitch chosen for these is the Turning Point™ TrailAir Pin Box which, when properly configured, moves the turning point between the truck and trailer back by 22”. This allows trucks with shorter beds to tow this trailer. It’s also said to improve maneuverability. Here’s a video about this. 

Half-ton towable?

I try to get my information about these rigs from various resources in the RV industry, including the manufacturer and dealer and even owners where possible. One of the things I saw quite frequently is that this trailer was advertised by dealers as “half-ton towable.” 

Recently I wrote an article about half-ton trucks and what they can tow and, honestly, even at the top of what most half-ton trucks claim, this trailer was at capacity when dry. Add some water, your stuff and a driver and passenger and you just won’t be able to tow this and have any reserve capacity whatsoever. 

I always want people to be very realistic in what they can tow because it’s not really about what you can tow, it’s more about what you can control and stop that will be the critical factors. With a dry pin weight of 1,245 lbs., there are almost no half-ton trucks that can tow this and also have people in the cab. 

In summary

While this is not a large trailer as fifth wheels go, it offers an almost ridiculous amount of counter space – and that’s not a bad thing. As a couple’s camper, this would be an entertainer’s dream. Plus, I think Flagstaff and Rockwood do a good job with the trailers they build. 

If there isn’t a Flagstaff dealer near you, this model is also sold as the Rockwood Ultra Lite 2622RK. 

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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Brian Cole
1 year ago

Cougar is Keystone, not Forest River. My 526RK came with 16″ E-rated Goodyear Endurance tires. We really like ours!!

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