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.
By Tony Barthel
My wife and I were recently talking with someone about what trailer we’d get if we had to get a new trailer today. There are so many nice options on the market, and writing these reviews is like being on Weight Watchers and having a coupon for the all-you-can-eat buffet restaurant next door. Except with trailers.
I guess they don’t call it Weight Watchers any more, just like the place with the chicken isn’t Kentucky Fried. But I digress. And it’s lunch time.
While really considering the answer to that question, one of the choices that sits very high on our list is the Forest River Rockwood Mini Lite 2514s (also sold as the Flagstaff Micro Lite 25fbs). What makes this a contender is that we go to a fair number of places that are pretty tight so we like smaller trailers – and this is at the top of our personal limit at 25’ 10” in length. We also do some longer-distance travel which incorporates stealth camping in known parking lots and rest areas where we don’t want to put the slide out or even detach the truck from the trailer.
We love boondocking, so a nod in that direction is important. We work from wherever we are – oftentimes these reviews are written from inside our trailer or outside at a campground.
With that overlay, we look at the Rockwood 2514S. There are 52 gallons of fresh water and a Shower Miser feature that recirculates water back into your fresh tank as you’re waiting for the shower water to heat up. Instead of wasting water as you wait, it’s just circulating back into the system. That makes a lot of sense and is perfect for boondocking.
For 2021, Rockwood has a new option package that includes a 190-watt rigid solar panel on the roof as well as a 12-volt refrigerator. This means you can leave the refrigerator turned on while rolling down the road, and the solar panels should keep everything working well. However, there is also a port to add a portable solar panel if you want. Furthermore, compressor-based refrigerators don’t absolutely have to be level to function properly, although it isn’t easy to sleep in a trailer that isn’t level.
The optional package with the solar panel also includes a 1000-watt inverter so you can light up certain plugs in the coach – although this doesn’t facilitate the microwave or air conditioner, the latter of which is ducted through Rockwood’s vacuum-laminated walkable roof.
As a couple who used to own a bed & breakfast and who love to cook and entertain, this trailer was made for us. There’s a huge kitchen with man-made countertops that form an L shape. There’s also a bar with two bar stools on the opposite side of the sink. A bar in a trailer – could this be the Jimmy Buffett edition since his uncle, Warren, holds so much Forest River stock? Okay, they probably really envisioned this as a breakfast bar, but I always have a blender at the ready. [Note from editor: Jimmy and Warren aren’t related, per DNA testing, but they are friends.]
I presently own a Rockwood trailer and appreciate how these are built. All the walls, including slide room walls, and the ceiling are vacuum laminated by the company in their own facility and framed in aluminum. They use Dexter independent torsion suspension and ride on Goodyear Endurance tires.
Outside are frameless windows, and airflow is moved along courtesy of a MaxxAir fan. This model is one of the many that also has a second optional MaxxAir fan over the bed – which would be on my checklist for sure.
Build quality on these has been consistently good, and I like that this floor plan doesn’t require the slide room to be open to make it usable, although it’s obviously nicer with that room opened up.
One of the things I also appreciate about Rockwood trailers is the cabinetry in the bathroom – there is space in the bathroom for things like towels and such. The medicine cabinet actually lets you store toothbrushes and other toiletries, but there’s also a shelf above the sink which has space for toothbrushes and a cup. We use these in our own trailer.
And the bathroom cabinets, like the rest, are actual hardwood cabinets with recessed hinges, which have held up well in our trailer for more than 12,000+ miles and four years of hard use – including going off-road. Shh, don’t tell anyone.
One of the areas that I hear a lot of dissent among prospective owners of these is the Murphy bed, yet it was something that we specifically sought-out when we bought our trailer. Basically in a small space, this gives you a sleeping area by night and a couch by day. It makes so much sense. This model is unique in that the Murphy bed can be folded down even with the slide room in.
The main negative to me is that Rockwood hasn’t segregated the sleeping area even with a curtain on this model – which seems odd since they did that with ours.
Rockwood’s team has decision-makers in a group I founded on Facebook for Rockwood and Flagstaff owners with over 6,200 members. They really do listen to the members of this group and I can point to specific positive changes and upgrades in their models based on input from actual users in the group.
If you’re worried about media bias, you shouldn’t be. I will fully admit that I really like Rockwood trailers … a lot.
But what really makes me smile broadly is that this and other newer Rockwood trailers feature the InCommand system. Surprised? Don’t be. Rockwood has left all their traditional switches in place so you can fumble around and switch on a light in the dark – but they then added the ability to also control those functions from a smartphone. You get the best of old-world usability with modern-world functionality.
While the usability and features of this trailer are what might sell it for some, I think the build quality is the real reason to look at these. Yes, these are designed to be lightweight, and at about 6,000 lbs. dry weight these are easily towable by most half-ton trucks.
But it’s not just that they’re lightweight, but how they arrived at this using welded aluminum laminates including welded aluminum bed frames and other things to make them light and durable. Yep, this media guy is definitely biased toward these.