By Tony Barthel
Riverside RV and I share a year of significance – 2008 is the year the company opened its doors and it’s also the year I bought a resort. But Riverside is still building RVs today and I have since sold the resort. Now I get to share RV stories with you instead –and I like that better.
Yesterday I looked at one take on the idea of a retro RV style. Riverside has a very different idea in some ways. But not all.
Like yesterday’s Vintage Cruiser, the color choices of the Riverside Retro feature two-tone vinyl upholstery, valances and details on the inside. In fact, they both offer a turquoise and cream or crimson and cream upholstery with Riverside rounding out the choices with a gray interior and maple cabinetry (in the event you prefer something more contemporary/mainstream).
But I like that all the Riverside Retro models offer a birchwood interior – the walls and cabinet doors are all a birchwood look as it is with my friends’ vintage trailers. It’s a very big change from what you’ll see everywhere else at the RV show. Well, if there were still RV shows…
Riverside Retro trailers are available in a tremendous number of exterior colors including aqua, black, indigo blue, orange, Penske yellow, red, royal blue, Seafoam green, white and silver. The flooring is the same in all models, a black-and-white checkerboard floor that reminds me of a vintage diner which, I guess, is the whole idea.
And unlike the Vintage Cruisers, the Riverside Retro trailers are all built the way traditional trailers have been for many, many years. It is an aluminum skin, as trailers have used for decades, but the framing is also all aluminum so you’re not so worried about water intrusion.
The model that really caught my eye was the Retro 225, which is a two-axle couples’ trailer with a front kitchen. There’s a dinette in a slide with a full-width counter at the front with the stove on the camp side. This features a 16” stove – I wish they would just quit making these worthless ovens. Can we sign a petition or something? After that, you get to the entry door and then the refrigerator, which is a 12-volt refrigerator.
In the rear bedroom, there are two full-length closets, one on either side of the bed. There is a cubby behind the closets with a power outlet (110vac on the road side, 110vac and 12-volt USB on the camp side) in that cubby. It’s about the right space to put whatever flat-screen electronic goodie you’re staring at before you go to bed at night and have it wake up as refreshed as you are.
While the ceiling height is good in these trailers, the bed is only 76” long and the mattresses are rounded, so it might come up short for some tall campers.
One of the surprises, to me, is that all around there are two-tone valances above the windows but the window coverings are mini blinds. I haven’t seen these used throughout a trailer in a good long while, but maybe the idea is to continue that retro feel. I don’t know – I prefer the curtains in the Retro Cruiser.
Despite the storage being surprisingly well-finished on the inside, on the outside Riverside uses those cheap plastic hold backs that you’ll break after a few weeks of camping. Bummer.
Riverside indicated that among the changes they’ve made for 2021 include adding a black tank flush as standard as well as pre-wiring the trailers for roof-top solar. Also new is prep for a back-up camera. Lastly Riverside does still offer the option of either the gas-electric refrigerator or a 12 volt compressor-based refrigerator.
Riverside RV is another small, local RV company like the one in yesterday’s review. For some buyers, there is a priority of patronizing a company that’s not a huge operation, so that might make a difference for some.
I know at one point when I was selling RVs one of these came in and the reaction from people was absolutely extreme – some wouldn’t want anything to do with them and others were absolutely thrilled.
A representative from Riverside tells me they have made a few changes for 2021 including using new pressed counters. They’re also offering a more mainstream maple interior if that’s your style. Perhaps these are your style and, in that case, Riverside has done a nice job echoing an era.
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.