By Tony Barthel
Watching Josh the RV Nerd’s videos on YouTube (below) is an expensive hobby for me. It was one of his videos that got me to buy the trailer I have now, and when I saw him get excited about a floor plan that rolled into his dealership, I was a bit wary about watching it.
I’m safe. While I really liked the Keystone Cougar 26RBS, it was larger than I’m currently hoping to get so I was saved. But, still, this RV does have a lot of features that make it a solid choice as a couple’s camper.
Slides in use
Josh and I share the priority that a camper is better if you can use most, if not all, the features while in transit. No, no, not while you’re actually driving but being able to grab a snack or a beverage, or use the bathroom while on the road with the slide in is a huge bonus. This has that bonus.
Of course, once you’ve put the slide out it’s so much better. In the slide room, you get a number of choices including a tri-fold sofa and booth dinette or theater seating and a free-standing table, which would be the boxes I would personally check.
That theater seating is opposite a huge TV and electric fireplace, and there’s a cubby in the seats themselves to keep your remotes. Next to the TV is a large pantry and there’s another pantry/closet to the left of the rear entrance door. Behind the TV is more hidden storage and, of course, there are cabinets and drawers in the kitchen. As far as travel trailers go, this one’s got a handle on the storage for sure.
There isn’t a huge amount of counter space but there is floor space and a free-standing table that would work as counter space alternative.
I also like the size of the windows inside the slide with both road-side and slide sidewall windows being pretty big with MCD blackout shades to keep the sun out when you want.
Past the main living area, the bedroom has a king-sized bed but still leaves room for you to walk around. There’s also a door in the bedroom to the outside world and both this door and the one in the main living area have windows with shades.
On each side of the bed are little nightstands with cubbies underneath and both a 120vac and USB plugs.
Keystone’s cornerstone features
There are a number of plugs in here that are inverter-ready if that’s something you choose to install. So you could run something like a CPAP at night with the proper batteries and such along with that optional inverter.
On the subject of wiring, it’s important to talk about a few of Keystone’s advantages. Wiring is one of those. A few years ago Keystone committed to wiring all their RVs consistently – so a yellow wire on this trailer does the same thing as a yellow wire on another Cougar model. You might think this is normal, but it’s really not.
That wiring includes a solar panel plug on the side of the trailer along with a solar connector on the roof, if you choose to add solar.
Keystone also has a flooring product called HyperDeck, which is a man-made laminate that they use in place of wood flooring. No more worrying about the flooring in the RV rotting.
The company also tests and certifies their RVs to work down to 0° F and up to 110° F. While some RVs claim to be “winter-ready,” at least here you know what it has been tested to withstand.
Part of that climate package is a ducted air conditioning system with plastic duct joiners/supports that keep the ducts from collapsing over time. That way those unusual vents keep working the way they’re designed to.
Another plus is that this unit is wired for both rear and side cameras. These cameras can be a huge benefit – and having everything in place to install them is a big plus. It’s also wired for 50-amp service, which is exceptional for a travel trailer as it means you could install a second air conditioner.
If you do that while you’re up on the roof, you might as well dump that chintzy bathroom fan and replace it with one that’ll move some serious air. Since the vent over the bedroom is pre-wired for an AC, you could also put a high-performance fan up there while taking advantage of the wiring.
As a higher-quality trailer in Keystone’s line, you also get auto level on this model as standard equipment. Furthermore, there is the inCommand system which uses a control panel to allow you to run the AC, auto level, lights and other systems. You can also tie it to your smartphone and use that to control much of this RV – which has merits including being able to extend slide rooms and the awning from outside while you’re looking at them go out.
In fact, if your RV has found Wi-Fi and you happen to be at a restaurant you can whip out your smartphone and check the tank levels. You never know how you’ll react to that shrimp dish, you know, and you’ll want to be prepared.
What I don’t like is that there isn’t just a simple button as you go in the door to flip on the lights, but there are redundant buttons in the kitchen and the bedroom if that’s a consolation. Plus, you can annoy your spouse by using your phone to turn lights on and off. On and off. On and… Now you’re sleeping outside.
At least while you’re out there you get to use the outdoor kitchen, which is comprised of a Capital grill which is a sort of barbecue grill made of stainless steel. Next to that is a 120vac bar-sized refrigerator. This whole sleeping outside thing isn’t that bad after all.
Perhaps you’ll have also used the 2” receiver hitch to hook up a rack for your electric bicycles or something of that sort. That almost justifies playing with the lights again.
There is a lot to like about this trailer, including the layout and all the plus features that you get both as part of the Cougar brand in general and of this model in particular. One thing that annoys me is having to throw away stuff right when I get an RV – so I wish Keystone wouldn’t use those cheap bathroom fans, but at least it’s an easy fix.
They also used the 22” oven and did a lot of other things very well on this trailer, so it’s definitely one to consider for couples.
One thing: It’s advertised as half-ton towable and maybe it is if you have a really, really well-equipped half-ton pickup. But I think you’d realistically be much better off with a three-quarter-ton pickup with a trailer of this size and weight. I’m sure there’s someone out there who tows theirs with a Prius or something ready to write a response, and that’s fine.
The bottom line: This is definitely a nice choice in this field.
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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