Saturday, July 24, 2021
Saturday, July 24, 2021

RV review: 2021 Keystone Passport SL 219BH – The “Swiss Army knife” of trailers

“The Swiss Army knife of travel trailers” is how Keystone describes the Passport SL 219BH. I don’t disagree with that. This is a relatively small, no-slide travel trailer that offers a lot of functionality at a price below $30,000. In fact, the street price is well below $30,000, assuming you can find one at a dealership.

What’s inside the Keystone Passport SL 219BH

While not an exceptionally large trailer, this one does offer a good deal of usability in my opinion. Up front is a Murphy bed flanked by two wardrobe closets. On the road side of the bed is a larger “table” which accommodates the water heater, but I had no issues getting into the bed. (My wife made me try it out.) Both sides feature a solid surface top.

When the bed is up, the couch is not uncomfortable at all. Now you have seating for two up front. There are also three drawers under the couch. I really like Murphy bed models. My only point of wonder is if you could put a memory foam mattress topper on the bed. The mattress has to fold to accommodate the bed and, well, it is an RV mattress. Though it’s also a full queen. 

The galley has room for a trash can

On the road side is the galley with a large stainless steel sink, three-burner stove with 17” oven, and a microwave above. Four drawers are below the sink along with a cabinet that can easily hold a garbage can. It’s funny – although nobody’s laughing – but many RV companies don’t provide space for a trash can.

There’s also a large drawer directly under the oven. 

A six-cubic-foot gas-electric fridge is standard here. Directly across the way is a four-person dinette. It uses two pole mounts for the table but, like the kitchen countertops, the table is a solid surface design. Above this is more cabinet space, and there is storage in the seats of the dinette, as well. 

The TV is on the wall between the dinette and the bunks at the back. The bunks are pretty cool, as the lower bunk flips up and latches and there’s an access door to the back. You could easily stow bicycles here or even kayaks. This is a really handy way to bring along adventure gear, especially in a smaller travel trailer. 

Also, if you don’t have more than two travelers this could still make a lot of sense. You could use the bunks for storage – which is often in short supply in a smaller travel trailer. 

Outside on the Passport SL 219BH

Murphy bed trailers come in several forms including ones where the single-platform bed intrudes on what would otherwise be pass-through storage space in a travel trailer. Since this bed folds, there is no such intrusion so there’s a decent amount of pass-through storage here. 

At the back of the trailer is an outdoor kitchen with a two-burner propane stove and bar-sized fridge. A spray port provides pressurized water through an included hose. 

At the back, of course, is the door I mentioned with the bunks and it’s easily big enough for kayaks and probably big enough for bikes. I didn’t bring a bike to try it out, though. 

Keystone

As I write this, I am sitting in my own travel trailer in Indiana having just visited the Keystone plant and seen things that you can get today, and things you’ll be able to get tomorrow. But this is the first time since COVID that I’ve been able to visit plants for these reviews. It’s so great to be able to do so. 

As such, I was able to sit in this trailer and even take the photos for this review. But I also got to see, firsthand, some of the things that Keystone is doing to differentiate themselves. 

Included in that is the blade air conditioning ducting system. It also has ducts that incorporate plastic joiners to help the ducting maintain its shape rather than collapse over time. This trailer had a GE AC unit as opposed to the typical Coleman unit. There was a model I was able to sit in with the AC running – and it was very, very quiet. 

I also saw the HyperDeck™ flooring I’ve been talking about firsthand in the assembly line. This is a man-made waterproof flooring that’s also lightweight. It seemed quite substantial with my big self standing on it. 

Truth be told…

Whenever I write about a Keystone product, immediately there are responses of people having had warranty issues. Keystone sells a lot of trailers so, as with any human-made product, there is going to be the potential for issues. 

But I will say that when I was working in sales and warranties, Keystone was one of the better companies to deal with regarding warranties. They were very prompt and very responsive. 

This brings me to something I advise anyone shopping for a new RV: Choose your dealership first. A good dealership will really make a lot of difference in your ownership experience over a lousy one. The owner at the place I worked always advocated that we work to make sure the customer was whole in every way. But I don’t think all dealerships do this. 

The place I worked also preferred team members who actually enjoy and use RVs so we understood the experience. So, perhaps, some of the buying process might include speaking with whomever handles the warranties at the dealership as well as just the salesperson. 

In summary

Okay, the lecture is over. I will say this is a nifty floor plan for this size with good storage and also a good feel of space overall. I wish they would have used the larger 22” oven, but I’ve found most bunk models use the smaller unit for some reason. 

My wife and I (she got to come with me and she used to work in an RV cabinet shop) both liked the appearance of the cabinetry in this rig. But we each have our own taste in that regard. I was told this was one of the company’s best-selling travel trailer models. Swiss Army knife indeed!

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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REVIEW OVERVIEW

Cargo space/capacity
Flexible interior
Keystone features
Small oven
Folding bed

SUMMARY

The Keystone Passport 219BH is a trailer that can serve a lot of purposes with a surprising amount of storage and capability.

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Roger Spalding
24 days ago

I’m always curious whether those who strenuously pan Keystone, or any other product for that matter, have actually purchased one for themselves. It seems the criticism often lacks the specificity needed to establish credibility. The more vehement, or vague, the complaint, the more likely it is imaginary or exaggerated. “Personal experience” creates an obscure inference that Keystone did something bad. Yet, we’re left to guess what it might be. I don’t own a Keystone, but find it hard to believe that one of the most successful RV manufacturers in the history of the industry could manage to sell 100’s of thousands of rigs by producing “junk.”

Sink Jaxon
24 days ago

Through my personal experience, Keystone is JUNK. The author states many have “warranty issues”, which to me, is a polite way to say those who bought Keystone, bought JUNK. Buyer beware. Just visit any complaint website about RV’s and you will understand.

Sink Jaxon
20 days ago
Reply to  Tony Barthel

Hi Tony, please don’t take it personally. I think Keystone was a good product before the RV ‘boom’. In fact, I bought a 2011 Bullet Premier 19 FBPR by Keystone. Had it 5 years and the only issue was the black tank flush didn’t work and could never figure out why. Wanted to upgrade to a 5er so I thought I’d stick with Keystone and bought a Cougar, built at the Pendelton, Oregon plant. That was a miserable mistake. Jus’ sayin’.

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