By Tony Barthel
I love when friends in the RV business get excited enough about a new floor plan that I get early-morning texts. It’s even better when they send me a bunch of photos and information. So what’s the big deal? The new 2021 Rockwood Signature Ultra Lite 8263MBR. The idea, according to Rockwood, is to make a smaller camper that has the features of a larger camper. This is part of a “Suite” series for the company.
This is a newer line within the Signature Series that is intended to bring large RV features into a smaller package. Surprisingly, the trend in the RV industry isn’t bigger and more capable RVs, but smaller and more well-equipped RVs. From the standpoint of trends, people are hoping to be able to tow easier and get into more places.
It’s about time I started a trend.
Like many brands of RVs, Rockwood offers a number of lines that are a bit confusing if you don’t spend all your days paying attention to this stuff. There’s the Mini Lite line, the Ultra Lite line and the Signature line, which is traditional travel trailers and some fifth wheels. This is in the “Signature” line but is a Signature Ultra Lite.
The idea in the Rockwood Signature Ultra Lite 8263MBR is to offer premium amenities in a smaller box. I would say they did a great job with this. There are some surprising aspects to this floor plan that I think are going to make it a popular choice.
What’s inside the Rockwood Signature Ultra Lite 8263MBR
The door to the trailer is in the middle. You enter into the main living area, which consists of a theater seat on the road side sharing a slide with the refrigerator. I like these theater seats because there’s a center armrest that drops down to reveal two cup holders and also a power outlet with both 110vac and 12-volt USB outlets on it.
The entire front of the Rockwood Signature 8263MBR is counter space side-to-side. I really like front kitchen floor plans. This large counter really makes use of Rockwood’s front windshield, which is an automotive-type windshield. In the center of the large counter is a two-bowl sink. There’s a folding sink cover for each of those halves, which can also act as a drain rack and cutting surface. Above this is a large number of cabinets that serve as your pantry, essentially. There are also lots of drawers and cabinets below deck. You can access that area from inside through a cabinet door, or outside through an access door.
That means you can take out the trash without having to carry it through the camper.
Moving on to the camp side, there’s a microwave overhead in the cabinetry and a three-burner stove with cast grates and a 22” oven.
Lastly, there’s a bar-height counter adjacent to the door. The company advertises this as a breakfast bar but, who are they kidding? This is your own personal place for margaritas.
The proof of this is the large TV and soundbar on the wall where I could watch Margaritaville with high-quality sound while enjoying that signature drink. Two bar-height chairs face the raised counter. You can also see the TV and enjoy the tunes from the theater seats.
The bedroom in the Rockwood Signature Ultra Lite
The bedroom is next and this trailer comes with a king-sized bed in a slide room. Under that bed are two drawers. You can access more space behind those either from inside the trailer or through another access door on the outside. One thing to take note of, and one of the reasons I really like Rockwood and Flagstaff products, is the welded aluminum framing which extends into dinette benches and the bed frame.
Opposite the bed are six drawers and three cabinets including a mirrored hanging cabinet. Furthermore, there are two cabinets over the bed itself.
If you’re into RV bathrooms, that’s our next stop – and you’ll marvel at this one. It’s huge with two sinks and two medicine cabinets. That means a pro basketball player would be comfortable on the porcelain toilet in this rig with all the leg room in here.
Which makes this a great time to take note of the 6’9” ceiling height at the sides of the arched ceiling. There’s a lot of headroom in this rig.
The shower is very spacious as well, rivaling many large fifth wheel trailer showers right down to the seat in the shower. I have a terrible memory, but I can’t recall ever seeing a seat in a travel trailer, especially a trailer that’s not crazy huge.
Standard features in the Rockwood Signature Ultra Lite 8263MBR
There are a lot of standard features in the Rockwood Signature 8263MBR, including some that are unusual in the industry. Included in that list is the Showermi$er, which lets you recirculate water back into the fresh tank while you’re waiting for the water to get hot at the faucet. This might seem like a superfluous thing unless you enjoy boondocking. Then every drop counts and saving a few gallons makes the difference between staying out and going home.
I also like the way Rockwood incorporated their tire pressure monitoring system, which is similar to how a passenger car does it. Units inside the wheels report both tire pressure and temperature. This, along with the Goodyear Endurance tires, make for a best-in-class status.
For convenience, Rockwood trailers are now “keyed alike.” That means the entry door and baggage doors all use the same key but not the same key everybody else has.
Another standard feature in the Rockwood Signature Ultra Lite 8263MBR is auto-leveling like many motorhomes have. Rockwood also has fully vacuum-laminated walls including slide rooms and slide room ceilings. The company’s ceilings are also a laminated product rather than a wood-framed product.
Controls are switches or a smartphone app
Lastly, I can’t stress enough how much I appreciate that the company is using a control system that features traditional switches throughout the trailer. That means anybody can figure out how to turn on a light in the dark. But they also have a smart app that lets you open slide rooms and the awning as well as control lights using a smartphone.
I’ve rewired my sticks and bricks house to be completely app- (and voice-) controlled. But there are also switches so I don’t have to turn on my phone just to turn on a light in the middle of the night.
I might sound like some sort of fanboy of Rockwood, and regular readers will know that I own one of their trailers myself. However, the reason I’m enthusiastic doesn’t point back to some brand alliance. It is a reflection of looking at a lot of RVs and picking features and build a methodology that I think will serve a customer.
But no RV is ever perfect and this one isn’t either. You might find that outside storage space is not a strong suit for this model, for example.
I also don’t like floor registers for the heater. However, that usually translates into having a heated underbelly, which is a plus for camping in colder weather. Speaking of being cold, the standard 13,500btu air conditioner is probably best suited for customers in the Pacific Northwest. Other than them, you might upgrade to the 15,000BTU AC at the least. There’s a second AC option for customers who live in hotter climates.
Terrific floor plan in the Rockwood Signature Ultra Lite 8263MBR
But, all in all, I think this floor plan is pretty terrific with a spacious, open feeling. Also, there’s the huge bathroom along with a king-sized bed standard. So much of this trailer is done so well that I think there’s going to be a lot of demand for this floor plan. And I like the trend of smaller RVs offering bigger features.
My thanks to Josh the RV Nerd from Haylett RV in Coldwater Michigan, for the heads-up on this model and for the use of his pictures.
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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