I believe I’ve spoken about the fact that when I was selling RVs, our Northern California dealership was located not too far away from where lots of folks lost their homes to fire. Every time it happened we would combine our knowledge of RVs with the job of helping people through a very difficult time.
The reason I write this is that we sold a lot of Big Country RVs to folks who were transitioning from whatever they had to a new life of rebuilding while living in a fifth wheel. Today the world is a much different place and a lot of folks are purposely living in RVs instead of in traditional homes.
Big Country fifth wheels were popular with fire survivors
What made those Big Country fifth wheels popular with our fire survivors holds true to what would make them a big hit with people who choose the RV lifestyle. That includes big interiors that feel residential and a warranty that includes the ability to live in the rig full time. Surprisingly, I really hadn’t looked at Heartland products much even as I started my own transition, sharing RVs with you here on RVtravel.com.
Recently I had a chance to look at a Big Country 3703RK and I was surprised at how different the interiors of these rigs were. The company has also made some significant changes outside as well.
There were a number of reasons we really liked the Big Country units, including the fact that they had a good suspension system. In this case a MORryde 3,000 suspension system with a wet bolt kit. In fact, it was here that I learned why a better suspension was good for towing and the longevity of the RV.
We also learned that our customers would be happy with 2” thick sidewalls. But the current generation of Big Country models has been upgraded to feature an Azdel substrate that is waterproof. Where we were located got to a point where it would freeze in winter. So the fact that these were well-insulated was much appreciated.
The Grand Tour of the Big Country 3703RK
If I were living in a fifth wheel I would like the idea of the kitchen, living room and bedroom all kind of separated. Possibly my favorite floor plan is the front living model, but a very close second is the rear kitchen model. That’s what we have here.
Going into the rig, the first thing I noticed was a very vibrant color palette. The Big Country 5ers in the past had a much darker feel to them. This was very bright and light inside. The furniture, too, seems significantly upgraded from what I had seen in the past. It was never bad – this is just better.
Main living space
The main living space on the Big Country 3703RK is smack dab in the middle with opposing slides. On the wall facing the front of the trailer is a large TV and fireplace and a JBL sound system. Above that is some storage in cabinets featuring glass doors.
A couch occupies the road-side slide, above which is storage. The couch folds out to become a bed and each armrest has some storage.
Between the kitchen, all the way at the back of this rig, and the living space are heated and massaging theater seats which directly face the TV.
The road-side slide room has a free-standing table and chairs. Two curvy chairs occupy the space most of the time. But the table can be extended to accommodate four individuals with two folding chairs. They match the ones that live here permanently – available for those two additional diners.
High-quality cooking appliance in the Big Country
One of the things I liked about the Big Country rigs in the past, and a detail I continue to appreciate, is a really high-quality cooking appliance with a four-burner residential-feeling stove with a real oven. Above the stove, the vent hood reminds me of the one in the bed-and-breakfast I owned. It is quite far removed from feeling like something out of the RV catalog. I don’t know why this vent hood makes such a different to my mind, but maybe it’s that B&B kitchen experience.
I’ve done a lot of unusual things in my life.
The entire back wall of the kitchen has cabinets below a wide counter top. There’s a large window over them and cabinets on either side. I can’t imagine someone complaining about storage space in this kitchen.
Over on the camp side, a residential refrigerator shares space with six large drawers, more counter space and a 30” convection microwave. If you’re counting, that means there are two slides on the main deck on the camp side.
Upstairs neighbors in the Big Country 3703RK
On the upper deck, as you would expect, is the bathroom and bedroom. The bathroom here has two sinks and a very large shower which sports a molded-in seat. There is also linen storage.
One of the things that really hit home with the customers I had was the king-sized bed in the Heartland fifth wheels, and this one has that. The bed sits east-west in a road-side slide room. There are tables on either side of the bed that are not part of the slide.
Opposite the bed, of course, is a cabinet with drawers. The nose cap is where you’ll find a closet. On the right side of this is a cabinet that’s prepped for a washer and dryer.
A few choices
There are a few of these larger rear kitchen fifth wheels that we’ve looked at recently, including the Riverstone Reserve 3850RK and the Grand Design Solitude 390RK-R. I have to admit, if you’re in this category you’ve got some beautiful choices in front of you.
The Riverstone Reserve has the unique distinction of being available with a work desk, which I really liked. The Grand Design has a raised kitchen so it’s almost a “U”-shaped floor plan. That affords a lot more storage under the rear deck. Who doesn’t love storage?
What I liked about the Big Country 3703RK was the kitchen and the appliances used in the kitchen.
Gremlins out of the warranty system now
One of the challenges we had with Big Country was that I was managing warranty claims right as they were transitioning to new ownership under the Thor umbrella. To say that the transition was a challenge was an understatement speaking from the standpoint of handling warranty claims. But I’ve been told that they got all those gremlins out of the system.
There’s also a new PDI facility that all Big Country models go through – which is never a bad thing.
So which of the three that I have here would I choose? I think that depends on one’s priorities and how you choose to travel. Or live.
Tony comes to RVTravel having worked at an RV dealership and been a life long RV enthusiast. He also has written the syndicated Curbside column about cars. You can find his writing here and at StressLessCamping where he also has a podcast about the RV life with his wife.
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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