Wednesday, December 8, 2021

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RV Review: 2022 Cedar Creek 291RW fifth wheel

Donna D.’s email reminded me that I haven’t really looked at Cedar Creek fifth wheels in…wait. Ever. That surprised me, as we used to sell the heck out of these large fivers and our customers really liked them, many of them buying them for full-time living. 

But the floor plan Donna asked about, the Cedar Creek 291RW, also really was unusual to me. But that wasn’t the only weird thing going on here. When I went to Forest River’s website to download the floor plan graphic, I noticed that it indicated a huge couch on the camp side and then a fireplace and TV opposite that on the road side. Then, at the back, it indicated a long bar with tall bar stools and a huge window. 

But that’s not what I saw in the pictures I looked at. I think what’s going on here is that Cedar Creek must have made some significant changes to this design. I can also imagine that these changes are pretty polarizing. 

Cedar Creek

Part of the Forest River family, Cedar Creek is a higher-end line of fifth wheels that incorporate some nicer features, which you’d expect in the upper price category. 

What appeals to me in these models is the better Road Armor suspension and shackle kit. The standard wheels and tires on these are a “G”-rated 14-ply model. But I like that you can option in an “H”-rated 16-ply tire on heavier-duty 8,000-lb. axles. Good wheels, tires and brakes are such a simple way to reduce the likelihood that you’ll have issues on the road. 

There’s also a standard TST tire pressure monitoring system. Also, all Cedar Creek models include a 190-watt solar panel along with a 1,000-watt inverter and charge controller. This is really more of a maintenance solution if you’re going to opt for the residential fridge and want to do any boondocking whatsoever. 

The company brags about their insulation and climate control ducting. They claim that the walls are insulated to R-11, the roof to R-40 and the floors to R-45. The ducting is larger than is typical, at eight inches wide. They claim you can part your hair with the amount of air blowing into the upstairs bedroom. 

Yeah, let’s see them try that with me. 

You can also opt in a heat pump system – which would be something I’d definitely do. 

Finishes on these are a higher gloss gel coat. I can still remember our rep talking about this. 

Bring the party

But the thing I like the most about these is an option – and that option is the outdoor party center. 

This is a sliding system that occupies a portion of the front storage compartment and incorporates a small bar-sized refrigerator and a Suburban flat-top griddle. It also includes a 50” TV on an elevator where that TV can be raised and is on a swivel. I can imagine being with a bunch of other tailgaters at some sort of event and someone whips open their front storage bay and slides this thing out. 

You win. 

I don’t know how many of these Cedar Creek fifth wheels are going to have this, but I want to spend time around the folks who have one that does. I’ll bring my electric drill blender and we’ll tune in to Jimmy Buffett and drink his signature beverage. 

What’s inside the Cedar Creek 291RW

The other thing that kind of makes this great for a bunch of folks might be that loooooooong seating surface on the camp side. Essentially what that consists of is a row of theater seats just by the entrance, which is where you’d normally find a dinette or, perhaps, a table and chairs. 

Then there’s a pull-out section which is essentially another seat. 

Finally, there’s a chaise sofa which also flips up for storage. I could see four or five people sitting here.

Now, another thing that had various claims on the Internet was the television that’s opposite the chaise lounge. In some videos I watched the television dropped down from the cabinet above – which the rep said was some nifty new idea. In others, it appeared to just be a TV that doesn’t go anywhere. Then, on their website, the floor plan graphic indicated that the TV rose up from the fireplace case. 

Frustrating examples

So, this brings me to what frustrated me the most about this rig and the company in general. How in the world do you spend the time engineering a trailer and then planning, accumulating the pieces, and then building the thing and not take a whole boatload of photos and get the darned information correct on your own website? 

Come on. You’re selling a $91,357 product. Spend an hour and shoot some darned photos and maybe get your act together and tell the story you want your audience to know. 

Think of this. A Mercedes-Benz GLE is about the same price and there are pages and pages and pages of information with illustrations and details and more. Yet you can go find this trailer and there is almost nothing on their website. 

In today’s world of digital communications, this is absolutely and totally inexcusable. 

But I don’t want to only provide the problem without a solution. Tomorrow’s RV review will show a comparable model where they actually understand marketing. Stay tuned!

In summary

I like this rig for the size and features that are in it. As you can see, I never mentioned the nice kitchen with professional-grade appliances. I also neglected to tell you that you can get this with a residential refrigerator or a gas-electric model, which might be better for boondocking. 

But it really discourages me how so many Forest River brands just don’t care enough about your business to actually share information about what makes their products stand out. 

Because, based on my experience with these Cedar Creek products, they really are nice. But someone needs to go tell ol’ Warren Buffett that it’s 2022 and Forest River needs a website that doesn’t still have a crank handle and chipmunks running it. Direct marketing to consumers is a trend and Forest River … you’re missing it. 

Tony comes to RVTravel having worked at an RV dealership and been a life long RV enthusiast. He also has written the syndicated Curbside column about cars. You can find his writing here and at StressLessCamping where he also has a podcast about the RV life with his wife. 

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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REVIEW OVERVIEW

Optional party center
Upgraded suspension
Insulation
Lack of consumer-focused information

SUMMARY

Cedar Creek's 291RW offers an unusual seating/couch configuration and really nice high-end features.

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Tim
17 days ago

Interesting in the section through drawing of the wall construction. This is framed with metal studs in a distinct stud spacing layout vs vacuum walls that have hap-hazard pieces of metal placed generally only where there is something that will be mounted. Any other manufacturers doing this?

Tommy Molnar
21 days ago

Did I miss something or did they forget to provide someplace for folks to sit (inside) and eat? Do you have to provide your own TV trays?

Bob p
21 days ago

If you were as critical of all your reviews changes may start to take place in the RV world. Lol

Bob p
21 days ago
Reply to  Bob p

Many moons ago there was a manufacturer that required their engineers to go camping in their prototypes before it went into production but I can’t remember who.

Bob M
21 days ago
Reply to  Tony Barthel

Keep up the good work.