By Tony Barthel
Social media and radio host Alan Warren and I share a bias – we both are big, big fans of Rockwood products. To be fair, Rockwood is a sponsor of Alan’s The RV Show USA, but I like Rockwood products because I bought one with my own money and started a Facebook fan club which has grown to almost 7,000 members.
Recently, Alan shared a video with me where he talks to Anthony Yoder of Rockwood, who does a walk-through of the 2883WS fifth wheel. I believe I’ve also written that Rockwood and Flagstaff are essentially the same product with some minor differences in decals and such. So if you can’t find a Rockwood dealer you enjoy working with, you can get the Flagstaff version of this in the 528IKRL. Rockwood is part of the Forest River family.
The view from here…
When Alan shared the video, his words were: “Check out the windows on this fifth wheel!” He wasn’t kidding! The large windows in this model really do open up the fifth wheel. This was a pleasant surprise since I’ve seen an increasing number of models recently with very, very few windows. Not here.
In fact, the windows on Rockwood products were a reason I bought mine: I like the frameless windows that hinge at the top quite a bit. While some complain that they don’t let in enough air, Rockwood products always have a high-performance ceiling vent fan. I can create quite the breeze in my trailer with a few windows cracked and that fan running.
If you choose, you can also have thermopane windows in a Rockwood fifth wheel.
Keeping things suspenseful…
Another reason I chose my own Rockwood trailer is that it uses a Dexter Torflex® suspension, which is essentially an independent suspension system instead of leaf springs. I can attest to how well my trailer tows with this and, let’s just say, I am writing this from a boondocking campsite where people were surprised to see a goofball with a travel trailer.
“Wow! We haven’t seen anyone bring a trailer in here before. How did it handle on the road coming in?”
My wife is a geologist and this isn’t the first time I’ve taken my trailer on roads that are not well-suited for trailers – if you can even call them roads. But we found the greatest hot springs so it was worth it.
Another thing I like on the Rockwood line, but which I don’t have on mine, is the one-key feature. Instead of having multiple keys or the same key as every other camper in the park, this gives you one key that operates everything and is unique to this trailer.
There are a lot of quality features on Rockwood products. For example, they vacuum laminate their walls in-house, including the slide room walls and even the ceiling/roof. The cabinets are all hidden hinge designs that are pocket screwed. I’m always impressed that my cabinets are still up based on where my trailer has been. Especially because I’ve had mine now for four years and dragged it over 15,000 miles.
I may sound like I’m shilling for Rockwood, but I chose my trailer after a lot of research.
What’s interesting to me about this fifth wheel is that the center island doesn’t have the sink. Instead, that fixture is on the forward wall of the living space. The center island is simply more prep space. There’s a lip on the camp side of the island and two bar stools so you can use that to serve up drinks or breakfast or whatever you choose.
There’s also a proper table and chairs in here – so you have options.
This floor plan features a jackknife couch at the rear of the trailer and then theater seats opposite the TV and fireplace. Next to that is a pantry and then a three-burner stove with a 22” oven. You see, it does exist – and that’s another reason I like Rockwood products.
There is a choice of a residential 20-cubic-foot refrigerator or a gas-electric RV refrigerator at 18-cubic-feet.
Upstairs is the bathroom, of course, and I like the little stainless steel sink in the bathroom (as opposed to plastic). The countertops all around are of the solid-surface variety.
Inside the shower is what’s called a Showermiser valve. If boondocking is your thing, this is a brilliant idea. Essentially you turn on the hot faucet and wait for the water to get hot. Normally you’d be wasting all this “waiting” water – but, in this case, it’s going back into the fresh water tank. There’s a sheath on the faucet that starts blue, but when the water’s hot it turns white and you’re ready to take a shower. I don’t know how many gallons you’d be saving with this but it’s certainly great for boondockers.
I have had more than a few members of my Facebook Group complain about not fully understanding this. A full video explanation might be helpful… as would more clear labels. Or any label, for that matter. It’s still a great feature but is so unusual (in a good way) that not all owners understand it.
The bedroom is where you’ll find the third slide on this model, and where you’ll find the wardrobe which extends into the bathroom.
In the bedroom is a proper residential-sized queen bed. Anthony Yoder described the mattress as a gel foam queen mattress. Very specifically, he said that “You shouldn’t have to go buy a mattress to replace the one that came with your RV.” Amen, brother. Amen.
It can be done
One more thing. These fifth wheels have a series of buttons right inside the door that let you control many of the functions of the trailer. But you can also do so with the One Control app – so you could stand outside the trailer and open slide rooms and such.
Again, I know I annoy some of you with some of the nits I pick about things like buttons and apps for controlling things and 22” ovens – but this is why. I know it can be done. And I’ve put my money where my keyboard is.
I would never say that Rockwood or any RV company is perfect. For example, they should label that Showermiser… but at least it’s a neat feature. I also know that Alan’s show is sponsored by Rockwood – but I am totally free and encouraged to share with you my opinions, good or bad, based on my experience in the industry. I do that.
This is a nice rig, and I have had excellent experiences with Rockwood’s build quality and genuinely usable features.
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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Why do you call it a 28′ unit when it’s 33’11” ? That’s confusing.
My husband and I bought this model and absolutely love it. I prefer the bedslide from 2442BS, but prefer the living space in the 2883WS. Can’t wait to go camping..
Forest River? No thanks.
I read that a lot and I think there’s a great deal of misinformation out there.
Forest River and Thor both offer a tremendous amount of autonomy to their various brands. The way a Rockwood trailer is built is very, very different than the way something like a Gray Wolf is built, for example. Yet both are owned by Forest River.
These large manufacturers actually encourage their various divisions to compete with one another for features, price and quality. So to lump all Forest River products into one bag isn’t fair nor is it accurate.
Not too thrilled with how the stove is ‘enclosed’ by a wall on each side. However, I DO like the “shower miser” idea.