By Tony Barthel
If you look at RV floor plans as much as I do, one of the things you’ll notice is that a lot of people use the same template for doing interior design. For example, recently William Y asked me to take a look at the Forest River Wildwood FSX 260RT toy hauler.
I like some of Wildwood’s products and floor plans and have actually looked at a few of their offerings as potential for my own garage. But it was interesting to look at the Wildwood FSX 260RT in the shadow of the story I wrote about the Northwood Desert Fox 27FS toy hauler just a few days ago.
Compare and contrast
Since we did look at that Desert Fox, let’s compare the Wildwood FSX 260RT since they’re almost the same configuration and dimension.
The first thing someone’s going to look at, most likely, is the price. The Desert Fox has an MSRP of $59,447, whereas the Wildwood has an MSRP of $31,964. That’s a fat difference of $27,483. What do you get for that kind of money?
The Desert Fox is a vacuum-bonded laminated structure, whereas the Wildwood is a wood-framed RV with aluminum skin nailed to that frame. What’s the difference and why does it matter? There are a lot of things to consider but here is an article about RV construction types and why it matters. Know, also, that Northwood tends to favor thicker and better insulated walls and baggage compartments. So it’s not only the type of construction, but the way the company implements that type of construction.
Suspension comparison between Wildwood FSX 260RT and Desert Fox
One factor that will absolutely make a difference in your towing experience and, arguably, in the safety experience while towing is the suspension design on the trailer. The Wildwood uses a simple leaf spring suspension. The Desert Fox uses a suspension incorporating shocks and E-Z Lube axles with Nev-R-Adjust forward, self-adjusting brakes. The whole trailer rides on larger 235/80R16 tires.
Tires, too, make a huge difference in the safety and towing performance of a travel trailer. I think it’s a huge disservice in the RV industry that anybody would use cheap tires on a travel trailer. It used to be that Michelin Tires’ motto was “So much is riding on your tires” – and that’s still true today.
Of course, I have towed neither of these trailers. But I have talked to transport drivers who have, and the better the suspension system on a trailer, the better the towing experience, generally speaking.
Things to consider
I never mean to be harsh or mean, and I hope that the way I see things can help people in their decision-making process. As someone in the digital media space who’s basically a writer, I also absolutely understand working within a budget when making a purchase, especially one of this size.
The difference in price between one trailer and another that seem to offer much the same capability is considerable. The thing to look at is why one is so much more, and whether those details make the difference in your experience.
Another thing to consider is how you use the RV and where you’re going to be using it.
With something like these toy haulers, it’s highly likely that they’ll be weighed down with lots of cargo in the form of toys. But this is also not really a fair comparison.
The Desert Fox is what I would call a “real” toy hauler. That means a higher ceiling, huge holding tanks, and an on-board generator and fuel station, to name a few things. The Wildwood is, in fact, a toy hauler. But it is closer to a travel trailer than a dedicated toy hauler so it will likely be used differently, too.
I might prefer the Wildwood FSX 260RT
In fact, the Wildwood FSX 260RT is closer to what I would want in a toy hauler, but everybody’s different. I don’t have any larger toys to haul around such as a side-by-side or that sort of thing. I would more likely bring bicycles for the trip, and those aren’t going to tax the suspension whatsoever.
Again, one of the differences to consider when comparing one trailer to another is the ultimate duty that it’s going to see. But there are also substantive differences.
Let’s face it – the stoves, refrigerators, air conditioners, furnace and many other subsystems in an RV are the same no matter what you buy. If you get a Furrion 17-inch three-burner stove, it doesn’t matter what brand of RV that stove is placed in. It’s still the same Furrion three-burner stove, right?
But I will always want to spend more money on tires and suspension systems. Further, there are qualitative differences in how an RV is built and even which components the company chooses.
For example, Lippert makes a lot of the furniture in a lot of RVs but they offer different grades of furnishings as specified by the RV companies themselves. You can get high-quality, high-end components or get price-focused components. These are the decisions the RV manufacturers themselves make based on the focus of what they’re building.
So, with all that said, what are you getting in the Wildwood? I think Wildwood has done some standout things in the industry.
For example, I personally like the fact that the main bedroom, which features a north-south-facing queen-sized bed, is completely separated from the living space of the unit. The bathroom bisects the trailer so that the folks sleeping in the bedroom have two doors between them and the people in the back, assuming there are people back there.
That means that if the kids want to stay up all night chatting, the adults in the bedroom have a lower chance of hearing them doing so and having to tell them to hush.
I also like that there’s a space-heating fireplace in this unit. It takes advantage of an electrical hookup when available to heat the interior, rather than using the furnace.
One thing that is good by my way of thinking is that there is no seating opposite the galley provided by Wildwood. In my own trailer I literally ripped out the couch so I could employ two zero-gravity chairs. They are delightfully comfortable but they also add to the amount of space for stuff, as the chairs fold up to be reasonably compact.
Since this trailer features a huge window on the camp side, this would be a great place for the same thing. You can take them and enjoy them outside as well.
So while the timing of this article with the one on the Desert Fox prompted me to compare the two trailers, in many ways they’re very different. The one thing I really noticed on this, aside from the suspension and tires, is that this trailer has really small holding tanks for a toy hauler.
If the majority of your camping is done in RV parks, then this isn’t a big deal. But I suspect that a lot of toy haulers are used off the grid and that’s where this will be a factor worth considering. So what’s important to you?
It’s always good to have as many facts and as much of an understanding as possible when making a decision of this size. And that’s what I hope helps with these articles here on RVTravel.
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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