Saturday, July 24, 2021
Saturday, July 24, 2021

RV Review: 2021 r•pod RP-196 Travel Trailer – Is bigger better?

Remember when an r•pod was a small, almost teardrop-like trailer? The now-iconic shape of r•pod’s trailers was so popular it exploded in other brands including Jayco and Winnebago. The light, towable and unique exterior I think drove a lot of people to the brand, and they got a strong and enthusiastic following.

Now r•pods aren’t as small as they used to be. As with bellies and waistlines, r•pods, too, have grown this past year, and the r•pod RP-196 isn’t immune from that growth. 

What’s new in the r•pod RP-196

Probably the biggest change to the line is the squaring off of the rear of the trailers. While they’re still similar at the front, the back is now much more vertical and square – which means more interior space. That’s not a bad thing. 

But this model is also wider, at a full 96”. Previously, r•pod trailers were narrow-body – but those days are fast disappearing. Again, more interior space. 

The graphics and even the frog logo have also gotten an upgrade. I like the honeycomb art on the exterior of the trailers. Yeah, yeah. I know I usually don’t like exterior decals, but this looks good to my eyes. 

What’s inside

Entry to this model is near the back. The fridge is the first thing you come to. The galley occupies the entire rear of the coach with the fridge at the left, as you’re facing it. Then there’s a countertop with a large round stainless steel sink and a two-burner flush-mount cooktop. Below that is the microwave. Cabinets are overhead. 

One of the things the r•pod line got a while back is a built-in vacuum cleaner, which is right at the door under the fridge. This has a handy kick-on feature so you can sweep debris to the opening, kick the vacuum on, and it magically disappears. There are also attachments available for this built-in vac. 

In addition to the width gain, there’s also a large slide on the road side of this trailer. It has a full-height pantry as well as a jackknife sofa. Yep – the r•pod comes with a slide room.

The r•pod RP-196 has a proper bathroom

Opposite that slide room is another beneficiary of the increased size of this trailer – the bathroom. While r•pods often had wet baths, this one absolutely does not. Instead, there’s a proper bathroom with toilet, shower and sink. 

Another addition to the r•pod line in the shower is the Showermiser valve. This allows you to recirculate water back into your fresh tank while waiting for the water to get hot at the shower valve. Once it does, you just flip the valve and have hot water. This is a nifty water-saving device and means you get to boondock a little longer. 

Lastly, the front of the trailer has a 60” X 74” bed with under-bed storage. On either side of the bed are large tables or boxes that are a good place to store things at night. And there’s a power outlet for both 12-volt DC and 120-volt AC on the end of this. But I can also see this box might make it more difficult for some to get into or out of bed. So it gets a ding in my book, though I also appreciate the additional storage under the bed. 

Why does everything in life have to be a compromise? 

The closets on either side of the bed have frosted glass doors. There are lights inside the closets so they effectively become mood lighting. Nifty. 

Speaking of storage, there is a decent amount of it under the bed in the form of a pass-through storage compartment on the outside of the trailer. Oddly enough, the tongue of the trailer only has provision for a single propane tank. While one would certainly be enough for many camping adventures, you know you’re going to run out in the middle of the night on a very cold night. So this gets a ding, too. 

In summary

I like the new r•pod models and there’s one I’ve been waiting to see most of all as a potential replacement for my own trailer. But, as of this writing, they haven’t produced any just yet. 

When you think about getting a vacuum and Showermiser and more space in this trailer, it makes sense that r•pod models have grown. And they’re still a nice choice for a lot of folks with smaller tow vehicles. 

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.

Got an RV we need to look at? Contact us today and let us know in the form below – thank you!

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REVIEW OVERVIEW

Showermiser
Vacuum
Rear kitchen layout
Single propane tank
Bedside tables

SUMMARY

As the rPod line grows in both size and number of offerings it continues to be a good choice in smaller trailers with some new features that may give some a new reason to look again.

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J DeVries
1 month ago

It appears the TV is only watchable from the bedroom? If that’s the case, agree with DL Jenson, put in a booth instead of a couch.

DL Jenson
1 month ago

No booth is a deal breaker for me…we love to play cards with friends on rainy days

Adam K.
1 month ago

With the single axle it looks like the tongue weight would be quite hefty on this trailer and the rated GVW makes for another vote for tandem axles.

Bob M
1 month ago

I think the built in vacuum is nice. On wet days my small dogs bring small leaves and stuff in. Than we have to haul the vacuum our next trip up to the camper.

Tommy Molnar
1 month ago

I think this would be a great trailer for a single person. I like the shower miser too, but fail to see the necessity of a built-in vacuum system, especially in a trailer of this minimal size. You’re right right about the one propane tank issue, and looking at that tongue space it looks like you could only fit one battery in there as well. Another minus, in my opinion. But still, a single person could get along well in this unit.

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