By Tony Barthel
I love when my friends in the RV world contact me, especially when they tell me, “You have to see this new floor plan!” In this case, they were referring to the new Keystone Springdale 1740RK.
This new floor plan packs a lot of punch in a small and very affordable box. Additionally, the smart touches here make this trailer a great package.
Springdale is Keystone’s more affordable line of wood-framed, aluminum-skinned trailers. In the industry these are often referred to as “stick and tin” trailers. It’s how many trailers have been built for a very long time. Using wood framing and aluminum skin means you don’t have to create elaborate building systems to put these together. This means they cost less to build.
Some buyers also prefer this type of build methodology because anybody who’s handy with building things can generally make a repair if something happens. But there is a downside, which we’ll get to later.
Let’s start on the outside of the Springdale 1740RK first. You can see that this is one of Keystone’s more affordable units as demonstrated by the manual tongue jack and single propane cylinder. Most travel trailers come with two, but this isn’t that big of a deal.
There is decent pass-through storage at the front of the trailer and a surprise storage cabinet at the rear that even has a 120vac electrical outlet. You could potentially use this space for a small bar-sized refrigerator, if that is your preference, or other small items that might need electricity.
The plastic baggage door catches are inevitably going to be among the first things an owner replaces. These never ever last and are a pain in the neck.
Inside the Springdale 1740RK
This trailer is good at utilizing space. As you enter on those LCI Solid Steps the first thing you’ll see is a couch. Under that couch, Springdale has a shoe cubby – smart idea.
To your right is the galley with a long, long countertop that extends essentially the entire length of the interior of this little trailer. This is a huge amount of counter space and addresses the criticism that many have lobbed against smaller RVs.
On that counter is a two-burner stovetop and there’s a microwave overhead. I guess Springdale figured that there is so much counter space that they didn’t need to implement a recessed two-burner cooktop. I guess that’s true. Since it’s such a long counter, Springdale has put plenty of drawers and cabinets in – so there’s a good amount of storage.
On the back wall is a gas-electric RV refrigerator. Next to that is the full dry bath with a shower, toilet and sink. There’s even reasonably good counter space in the bathroom.
Coming back out of the bathroom there is a single slide on the road side of the trailer which has a dinette that folds down into a bed. Under the slide are two drawers making for even more storage.
Storage is the name of the game in the Springdale 1740RK, despite its diminutive size.
Where’s the bed in the Springdale 1740RK?
You might be wondering about the bed. There is one – you just haven’t seen it yet.
First, let’s flip the backrest of the couch we saw a moment ago over to make the whole thing lie flat. The backrest essentially tumbles end over end to accomplish this – it’s an interesting mechanism and is easy to operate.
Then you unlatch the hook at the top and a platform swings down. Now you and I are probably thinking, “Oh, a Murphy bed.” But, for whatever reason, Springdale calls it a Miller bed. I don’t know if Miller was Murphy’s illegitimate brother or what but, to me, this is a Murphy bed. Sorry Miller, you’re not stealing ol’ Murphy’s thunder. Plus, Murphy has a law, too.
Anyhow, the platform swings down and there’s a split mattress that you unfold and… bada bing, bada boom… sleeping time!
That split mattress is not my favorite idea at all. Considering that you’ll have to completely make the bed every. single. time. you unfold the darned thing, I would recommend looking at an RV Superbag. It’s kind of like a sleeping bag but with nice sheets that Velcro in. This solves the making of the bed problem. The fact that the bend in the mattress is probably going to be right where your spouse’s hips are is another issue altogether.
On either side of the bed/couch is a closet. Each occupant of the bed (assuming only two) also gets their own 120-vac electrical outlet and 12-volt charging station as well.
When I first eyed this new Springdale I was impressed with the use of space. As a small, affordable, couples’ camper this is a great floor plan. It would work with the slide in or out, so you can stealth camp in here if that’s important. It seems that even the Murphy, er, Miller bed can fold down with the slide in.
But the more I looked, the more I thought I had seen this somewhere before and, in fact, I had. If you’re in the RV business and actually come out with a floor plan nobody’s seen before it won’t be long before someone else has the same floor plan. So, if you’re excited by this floor plan but want something more deluxe, perhaps the Grand Design Imagine 17MKE travel trailer is more your style. Same floor plan, much more luxurious trappings.
But while there are a few areas where you can see how Springdale has made this trailer so affordable, I can honestly state that we had very few issues with Springdale trailers when I worked in the RV business. While they were affordable and may not have had all the super-deluxe trappings of some other brands, they were solid, well-made trailers.
Sometimes simpler is, indeed, better.
I had mentioned that there were downsides to the corrugated exterior of the Springdale 1740RK. Two come to mind that you should be aware of. The corrugated exterior is not smooth. All RVs require regular maintenance to the exterior seals to prevent water intrusion, but on a corrugated trailer, there are larger gaps to attend to. However, if you keep on the seals, you’ll be fine.
Because of that corrugated front and those sides, there is more drag than the smoother front of their Cherokee rivals from Forest River. So, while the lightness of this trailer might make it appeal to folks with midsize pickups and some SUVs, know that this will cause a good deal of drag on those vehicles. Pay attention to that when evaluating your tow vehicle.
Still, for under $20,000, this is a very usable trailer with a floor plan that can really make sense for some.
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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