By Tony Barthel
I’ve thanked you all before for all the great suggestions for RVs to review. Today’s look at the 2021 Palomino Solaire Ultra Lite 202RB travel trailer, suggested by David C., really hits close to home for me. The reason is, this is essentially the exact same layout as my own 2016 Rockwood Mini Lite 1905.
Yet the way Palomino, also a division of Forest River, and Rockwood took this floor plan and fleshed it out has both similarities but also significant differences. So if I were looking today with the same criteria as I did when I bought my own trailer, would I have still bought the trailer I did? Let’s see.
Why this model?
I like this kind of trailer, obviously, for a number of reasons. For my own personal travel style I have both frequent getaways within about 100 miles of my home base and then long, long trips that can be more than 1,000 miles away. Some of my trips are just a few days, others are months long.
What appeals to me about this floor plan and the various ways manufacturers have interpreted it is that it’s a smaller trailer with no slide room. That way everything inside is always accessible. So if I want to use the restroom or grab a drink while filling fuel in the tow vehicle I can do so. The trailer is small enough that I can maneuver through any filling station or any back road. But the rear bath configuration means there’s a nice large bathroom.
Since I like when things serve multiple purposes, I like the Murphy bed idea. That provides sitting space in the day but a proper-sized bed at night. The Palomino Solaire hits all the marks. I used to tow mine with a Nissan Frontier, but have since upgraded to a Ram 1500.
What’s inside the Palomino Solaire
Since I mentioned the Murphy bed, which is at the front, that’s where we’ll start. This one has a folding bed instead of a Murphy bed. The mattress folds down the middle rather than having a mechanism to accommodate the folding of a mattress.
There’s also a couch at the front, and Palomino has added drawers under that couch for additional storage. It seems that previous years there was just an open space, which I’m also okay with.
The folding bed in the Palomino Solaire is not something I am in love with. I prefer the Rockwood’s one-piece mattress and folding mechanism. But this folding mattress arrangement does mean that the front windshield is available to peer through day or night. There are always two sides to every coin.
However, there doesn’t appear to be a good place to plop your smartphones and such that’s in close proximity to the USB ports up on the nose of the trailer, though you could just get longer cords.
If you’re sitting in the bed or on the couch of the Palomino Solaire, mine has a wall on the camp side that sort of separates the bed area from the dinette, which is also on the camp side. This wall has been a sore point with my wife and me since we got the trailer. That’s because it takes a small space and breaks it up more than it needs to be.
The point of this is to offer a cabinet space and also a wall for the TV. But the way the Palomino does it is to put the TV way back on the back wall instead, which I prefer. That really opens up the interior significantly. Plus you can watch the TV from the dinette. Well, at least one of the seats in the dinette.
The galley in the Palomino Solaire
The galley in the Palomino Solaire also has a much larger sink with a roll-up cover and rectangular stainless steel bowl. Another plus for the Palomino.
The three-burner stove does only have a 17” oven, so my trailer wins this category. But Palomino comes back swinging with more cabinet space and a larger refrigerator. Beyond the refrigerator is a pantry, too, which is another plus.
Finally, the bathroom takes up the entire width of the back of the trailer, which I mentioned earlier. This means you have a fairly large bathroom in a relatively small travel trailer. This bathroom also has a big closet space. But the shower is really a key difference and this one even has a seat/stool in it. Oh, and speaking of stools, the one in this bathroom is porcelain.
Another plus for this Palomino is ducted air conditioning – which is surprising in a trailer of this size.
Outside, the Palomino Solaire has two axles on Dexter Torflex® suspension as opposed to mine, which has one axle. I actually prefer a single axle for maneuverability. My 16,000+ miles dragging my trailer around has not proven me wrong.
I also like that this trailer features slam latches and magnetic baggage door catches. There is a tire pressure monitor in valve stems that change color when the pressure is off. Not the most ideal TPMS system, but better than none by a long shot.
I also like that there are motion sensor lights in the front baggage compartment. Also, since the space isn’t taken up by the Murphy bed mechanism, there is more storage space in this trailer than in mine.
I really like this floor plan for the reasons I stated. There are definite advantages in this Palomino – and the shower, to me, is chief among them. It’s pretty impressive for a travel trailer this short.
I will say I’m not a big fan of the bed implementation – although it does leave the windshield available day or night. But this same couch is exactly the one I took out of my own trailer because it was both uncomfortable and flimsy. So we use the space for totes when traveling and for zero-gravity folding chairs when camping.
Yes, now I am looking to get a larger trailer. But that’s because I want more of a place to get these articles done for you while on the road.
But I like this floor plan quite a bit, and Palomino has done some things that definitely intrigue me here.
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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