By Tony Barthel
It used to be if you bought the “little” trailer from any line you were getting the least-well-equipped bottom-of-the-line trailer. The thinking was that people who wanted small wanted cheap. That left a market for companies like Oliver and Casita – who build small, high-quality travel trailers.
Well, someone at Flagstaff caught on and thus the line of E-Pro and the identical but re-badged Rockwood Geo Pro trailers were announced. These are all single-axle trailers with a narrower body and are the smallest non-folding trailers in the Flagstaff (and Rockwood) family. But they are identical to the larger Micro Lite and Super Lite trailers in build quality and choices of higher-end components and are very close in features as well.
So how has the public taken to these trailers? They’ve been selling like proverbial hotcakes. In fact, my own trailer, a 2017 Rockwood Mini Lite 1905, is the last single-axle offering in the Mini Lite range. Today to get the same trailer you’d have to be in the E-Pro line.
As with any family, it seems that things start small and grow – and that’s exactly what’s happened with the E-Pro line with two new models for 2021 that are the largest ever in this family. They are 21’2” in length and sport a slide room on the road side.
The new Flagstaff E-Pro 20FBS is a small, light, couples’ camper that is still a single-axle trailer and is sort of the expanded version of the smaller E19FBS except that it’s exactly a foot longer. So what’s the big difference?
Essentially the additional foot in length means that the bed is now a “north-south” bed so there is space to walk around. Previously the bed was an “east-west” bed such that one sleeper had to be confined to the corner. This doesn’t work for all campers. Despite this bed being a walk-around model, it’s only 54” X 74” so it’s a smaller bed but, keep in mind, these are narrow-body trailers.
In the slide room is a 72” sofa which can jackknife down to form a second sleeping area. That’s also where the business of eating is done with a folding table that sits in front of that sofa when it’s chow or game time. When not in use, though, the table can be placed behind the sofa.
Opposite the sofa is the kitchen comprised of a three-burner cooktop, a stainless steel single-bowl sink, a fridge and a microwave. You can upgrade that microwave to a convection model – which would make sense since there isn’t an oven in this unit.
Among the hallmarks of all of these trailers is a 12-volt TV with a built-in DVD player, rear ladder, a WiFi Ranger boosting system with available WiFi connectivity, roof-mounted solar with a 1000-watt converter, Showermiser water saver and more.
That 12-volt TV is sitting on a swivel arm over the sink in this model – which may sound silly, but remember that the couch is opposite the sink and you can swing the TV out to watch it from the bed. And, yes, you could also watch it from the toilet if whomever you’re camping with would allow for such behavior.
But what has made these units so popular is that the build quality and components used are comparable to the company’s larger units. So all walls and even the roof/ceiling are vacuum laminated in the company’s own plant and feature an Azdel substrate, which is more impervious to water damage than Luan, a more widely used substrate material. There’s also a high-performance fan standard in those ceilings with a cover so you can leave it open no matter what the weather.
The suspensions are a MORryde system, which means an independent suspension system for each wheel and on those wheels are Goodyear Endurance tires with a standard tire pressure monitoring system. This model also features an outdoor flat-top griddle that slides into a slot on the side of the trailer so you can use it outside or it can also sit on a picnic table.
Lastly, the mattress, while small, is heated, although I’ve put a foam topper on mine which sort of negates the heat function. One of the things I like is that the doors on these include a numeric keypad so you don’t necessarily need the key to get in, as long as you can remember your code.
These also feature the solid steps which I’ve described as some people loving and others not. You can’t please all of the people all the time.
A highlight of these is that Flagstaff has retained their hardwood pocket-screwed hidden-hinge cabinetry, but it’s almost whitewashed in its appearance in the E-Pro line. Since style is such a subjective thing I won’t weigh on the whole “white everything” inside RVs and houses, but I can tell you that I sought out “desert rose” appliances for my own kitchen in my house which has a 1950s vibe. You know … when the world wasn’t afraid of color.
One of the things that makes sense is the company went to all-electronic owner manuals in 2020 so you can get the specific owner manual for your unit.
There’s a lot to like about these. They tend to have a lot of best-in-class features that make a difference for the owner, including the build quality of the units themselves. For example, in mine I like the frameless windows and high-performance fan. It’s a decent compromise between small size for towing yet usable space inside.
With the additional slide space, the balance is even more in the favor of usability. Not like a giant fifth wheel by any stretch of the imagination, but great for camping.
Bottom line: Good things do come in small packages even in the RV world – and those small packages aren’t quite as small as they used to be.
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.