By Tony Barthel
The more RVs I look at, the more I am colored by certain aspects of an RV. For example, yesterday we looked at the Jayco Jay Feather Micro 199MBS trailer. Today I look at one that I might be inclined to buy for myself, a Rockwood Geo Pro 20FBS.
Rockwood’s Geo Pro line has been an enormous hit since it was first introduced, such that the company had to build another plant just to handle demand for these. What’s the appeal? They’re another of the smaller trailers that have high content and build quality and are just smaller, not less well-equipped.
Rockwood’s Geo Pro and the identical but differently branded Flagstaff ePro line of trailers came on the scene touting a big set of standard features in a little package. They were also more focused at people who might like off-grid camping and boondocking and have a number of really good features to facilitate that.
The pair introduced us to the ShowerMiser, which lets you recirculate water into your fresh tank while waiting for the shower water to get hot, for example. While this might seem like a little thing, it can make the difference between having to come in to replenish your water supply or staying out another day.
Up on the roof is a 190-watt solar panel attached to a GoPower inverter providing 1,000-watt power to all the 120vac outlets in the trailer. But that doesn’t preclude the fact that you can watch the TV without going through the inverter. There is also a provision/option for a second roof-mounted 190-watt solar panel from the factory or a port on the side where you can plug in a portable solar panel (which is what I do so I can place it in the sun even if the trailer’s in the shade).
This trailer follows typical Rockwood norms, including frameless windows which need less maintenance, a Dexter torsion axle suspension, Azdel substrate in the walls which are also aluminum-framed and vacuum bonded, and the ability to control the rig with either your smartphone or just plain old-fashioned switches. There are a lot of things that I think Rockwood does that make a positive difference in the ownership experience over time and why the brand is one of my favorites.
Another example of this is the fact that the company includes a tire pressure monitoring system in all their trailers yet also uses Goodyear tires and fills them with nitrogen. This automotive-style tire pressure monitoring system incorporates not only inflation pressure but also tire temperature so you can see if things are changing for the worse.
Lastly, the company includes a product called the WiFi Ranger which can boost some signals and provides a secure gateway to the internet by acting as a router.
As with a number of other trailer brands, the Geo Pro and ePro lines are getting bigger as they get older. I can’t say that I’m any different, actually. This new 20FBS is now the longest of any Geo Pro/ePro trailer thus far, at 21’ 2” in overall length. But, like all Geo Pro and ePro models so far, this one is a single-axle trailer. It’s also a bit narrower than full-width trailers, at 92” in overall width.
There are a few changes that come with the additional length, the first of which is a fixed north-south bed. Rockwood and Flagstaff are known for their Murphy bed models. I think their design is the best in the industry, bar none.
But this one has a fixed bed instead and, like many fixed-bed trailers, features a hanging cabinet and a shelf on either side of the bed. Below the bed are two drawers. The lower edge of the bed flips up to reveal what I can best describe as a hope chest-like storage compartment.
With this flipped up you’ll see another thing that I like about Rockwood and Flagstaff trailers. That is, all the framing for even their dinettes and beds and all of the things they make in-house is welded aluminum. This is more costly than simply using wood but, to me, is superior.
This model features a slide room and in that slide is a couch facing the galley. On either side of the couch are bolsters/armrests that incorporate a cup holder. There’s a flip-down armrest in the middle of the couch with more cup holders, plus both 12-volt and 120-volt power plugs. Neat.
Above the galley is the TV, which is a 12-volt model. That means you don’t have to run the included 1,000-watt inverter to make it work. This TV also has a built-in DVD player, and the stereo can also facilitate streaming.
Above the couch are three cabinet doors which flip down and have no provision to stop other than reaching terminal velocity and banging against the cabinet walls. More likely, it will come into contact with your head – causing a string of profanity and possibly a mark and a story to tell your friends.
This kind of lack of attention to detail surprises me in a Rockwood. There should be some provision to keep the cabinet doors horizontal when opened or have them open up somehow. As well thought out as Rockwood products are, this seems like an oversight, honestly.
Looking across the trailer at the galley, you’ll see that Rockwood has significantly increased the size of the sink from what they had before to a usable size. Atop that is a roll-up cutting board/drying rack. To the rear of the trailer is a three-burner flush-mount propane cooktop. The sink and cooktop are mounted in cabinets that feature a dryer and several cabinet spaces along with a bottle opener.
To the right is the standard 12-volt DC compressor-based fridge and, above that, a small microwave oven.
The entire width of the trailer in the back is the bathroom. Taking up the rear like this means the shower, toilet and sink are all very usable and spacious.
As mentioned, I have the predecessor to this trailer and one of the highlights of the design, which does not have slides, is that everything inside the trailer is accessible at all times. That means I can use it for a quick catnap along my way or, more likely, pay the rent on all that coffee I drank this morning.
While this trailer has a slide room, that would theoretically be possible too but for the bolsters on the couch in the slide room. If those weren’t there, or if there were a sliding door in the bathroom as so, so many RVs have, you would have full use of the interior with the slide in.
Honestly the first thing I would do if I bought this trailer is remove the bolster from the front of the slide on the rear so I could open the bathroom door with the slide in.
As mentioned, when reviewing RVs as I do I see so many ways of doing similar things. Let’s face it, a lot of what makes an RV is parts bought from common suppliers. But it’s how the companies package these parts and the quality of the materials and build that the companies do have control over that makes a huge difference in your long-term experience.
With what comes standard with these trailers plus their pricing, I think these are still some of the better small adventure trailers on the market. The build quality is definitely there and there are features that will make the long-term experience better.
After looking at yesterday’s Jayco, though, with 55 gallons of fresh water, I felt a bit of tank envy with this trailer’s smaller 30 gallons of fresh water. I liked some of the other features in the Jayco, as well, with the Jay S.M.A.R.T. lighting system being the chief among those features.
While the two are definitely different in configuration, you could conceive of someone cross-shopping this trailer with the Jayco. So if it were my money, which would I pick? That Jayco makes a strong case but they totally lost me on their lousy Murphy bed implementation.
My thanks to my friend Josh Winters from Haylett RV in Coldwater, Michigan, for the heads-up and photos of this unit.
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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