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RV Review: 2022 Coachmen Apex Ultra-Lite 256BHS; magical storage

We talked about bunk models a few days ago with the Thor Magnitude RS36 which is, in many ways, a whole different animal than today’s Coachmen Apex Ultra-Lite 256BHS. But a few of you wrote in asking about bunk models in various forms. (You can either use our new forums or just complete the form at the bottom of these articles to get ahold of me.) 

In many ways this Coachmen Apex Ultra-Lite really nails the bunkhouse configuration and, bonus, it’s surprisingly light for a trailer of this size. But there are a few aspects of the design that really make it stand out among its peers. 

Stand out features in the Coachmen Apex Ultra-Lite 256BHS

This floor plan is a pretty common floor plan among bunk models. There’s a bed in a bedroom at the front and bunks in the back, a single slide room and an outdoor kitchen. So you might think this trailer is pretty run-of-the-mill, but it actually has some pretty standout features. 

Starting in the bedroom, Coachmen seems unique in a number of their models for how they configure the space under the bed. In this case, there’s sort of a horseshoe area when you lift the bed. It reveals several drawers on the road side and a whole bank of cubbies on the camp side. Directly under the lifted bed are large trays or just compartments whose lid is the bed. These are a great place for rolled-up clothing. 

All those cubbies on the camp side are the ideal spot for shoes. There’s even a cushion that you can sit on here to put your shoes on. I’m sure there are some folks who might prefer just an open space under here. But, honestly, this is a great use of the space to me. It really helps organize a lot of things, especially shoes. 

Residential-sized queen bed on top of all that storage

The bed that sits on top of this storage space is a residential-sized queen. But the mattress here is definitely the type that your chiropractor will love, as it may help make the doctor’s boat payment. I have often wondered if it would make sense for RV manufacturers to ship their rigs with no mattress and have this be something you could buy at the dealership based on what you prefer. 

I can tell you I gave a lot of RV mattresses to the women’s shelter when I was working at the dealership. However, sometimes I almost felt that was ironic as the clients there have already been through enough without having to sleep on an RV mattress. 

I had mentioned another clever feature in this trailer, and that’s in the back where the bunks are. Not surprisingly, the lower bunk has a hinged platform that it sits on. But what is a surprise is the half-height door at the back of the trailer that gives you access to the space more readily. You could easily put a couple of bicycles or a kayak or something in here on the way to your destination. 

Clever dining table in the Apex Ultra-Lite

Another clever feature that may not be apparent is the dining table. This one is a pole mount model with two poles. But the way the cups are placed under the table is such that you can either mount the table right up against the wall, or rotate the table top 180 degrees and it extends a few inches into the walkway. 

Why this works is that this could be a place to slide in another chair or even a high chair for a kidlet. Little details like this really do make a difference long term. 

More sleeping

It seems that Coachmen really paid attention to sleeping details, including in how that sleeping space can be maximized during the day. 

Like many trailers of this configuration, this one can sleep up to ten people if you are a bit crazy, or want to become so. Each bunk could hold two sleepers, there’s a folding couch for two more, the dinette can add another couple and then the queen-sized bed. 

The bunks are only able to hold 200 pounds – which would be just fine for a couple of kiddos. Those occupants will also appreciate another little bonus feature: a corner shelf and both USB and 120vac outlets so the noisy babysitters can be charged at night. 

You can opt-in theater seating instead of that folding couch so that serious arguments among the kids can ensue over who gets this prime seating. 

Other details in the Apex Ultra-Lite

There are a few more things I like about this floor plan. Those include the fact that Coachmen doesn’t employ any floor registers for the heater but still has a heated underbelly. 

The kitchen is along the front wall that separates the master bedroom from the rest of the trailer. That’s an interesting place for it, but it works well. There’s a 12-volt Furrion fridge to keep things cool. The stove is a three-burner design with the puny 17” oven. I can hear the trombones playing as I type this. 

More to like about the dinette

I had mentioned the dinette already, but another thing I really like is the huge window right at the dinette. It’s large enough that it actually extends below the table. Big windows are a plus to me, especially on the camp side. 

Speaking of windows, the bunks each get two, both of which open for the upper bunk. The lower bunk will have to make do with just their camp-side window opening, as the other window is in the half-height door I had mentioned. 

Outdoor kitchen, but water is on the other side of the Apex Ultra-Lite

There is an outdoor kitchen, as you might expect, which is below the bunk on the camp side. But this kitchen doesn’t have any water provision. Yet, on the other side of the trailer, there’s a hot and cold shower outside. I’m sure there are some accountants who have figured out how much more plumbing this would take. However, I’d think putting the shower here at the outdoor kitchen would be more useful than having it on the road side. 

In some ways I wish the kitchen were an option, as it’s a two-burner stovetop and a 120-volt mini fridge plus a drawer. Given that the nifty under-bed storage impedes on the front pass-through storage, I wonder how many folks would prefer the space used for the outdoor kitchen just be used for storage instead? Oh, well. That can easily be accomplished with a screw gun. 

Boondocking

Based on your emails, this is a section of these articles that absolutely needs to continue. I will say that this trailer is okay in this department, but could be better. 

There is a 100-watt solar panel on the roof but, frankly, this is more a battery tender than anything else. With a 12-volt fridge, you’re likely to want much more solar power to keep that thing humming if you’re camping off the grid. It’s not difficult to add these yourself or have a company do it for you. But Coachmen is behind the game by not offering more solar as an option. I’m sure that’s coming. 

There is a 50-gallon fresh water tank. That could be a lot if you use this as a couples’ camper. But add a couple of teenagers and you’ll have blown through that the first day. Still, 50 gallons is respectable. 

You can get to the fridge mid-travel in this, but the bathroom requires some advance planning as the door is partially blocked by the slide room. However, if you prop the door open before bringing in the slide room, you’ll be in good shape to get to the bathroom. But that’s assuming you don’t want to have a longer item in the cargo area under the rear bunk. A lot of this could be solved with a pocket door or even just a curtain instead of a door. But that would absolutely be an aftermarket swap. 

In summary

I have often mentioned being very appreciative of the comments here and one of those was a request to list the ceiling height in these RVs. Therefore, you’ll see an additional line in the chart that often accompanies these reviews that has that measurement. I’ll add it whenever I can get that information. Thanks for the great idea!

Much to like about the floor plan of the Apex Ultra-Lite

There is so much to like about Coachmen’s implementation of this floor plan, including that under-bed cabinetry and how the kitchen is configured. There’s also the cargo bay at the back and the weight of this trailer, which is surprisingly light – all things considered. 

Sure, the bed’s terrible and the oven’s small. But most RV beds are some degree of awful, so just know you’ll be getting at least a foam topper pretty soon after your first outing in this rig. 

Thanks to Josh Winters of Haylett RV in Coldwater, Michigan for the photos.

I’m curious what you think of the under-bed cabinets in this trailer. Fortunately, we have our new forums where we can all share ideas and opinions. I would love to read your comments and suggestions over on our new forums, where you can weigh in and start or join a discussion about all things RV. Here’s a link to my RV Reviews Forum.

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.

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

Under bed cabinets
Rear storage
Dinette table
Oven size
Small fan over stove

SUMMARY

Coachmen's Apex Ultra Lite 256BHS offers what you might expect in this floor plan, which is a common floor plan, but then delivers more including some nifty under-bed cabinets and a storage area in the back with a half-height door to access the space.

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Tommy Molnar
9 months ago

“this one can sleep up to ten people if you are a bit crazy”. Boy, doos THAT say it all. Ha.
Not a fan of the under bed drawers. I’d rather have that space open so can decide how to store stuff. The room taken up with ‘cabinetry’ takes away from storage. We have bunches of stuff under our bed and it’s all separated by thick Jack Daniels boxes taken from Costco. Cheap and light weight.

Bob M
9 months ago

The storage under the queen bed seems nice. But when you replace the mattress and put bedding on the bed. Plus a quilt, it may be to heavy for some woman to lift the bed. Since theres an additional door in rear. The set up would be ok. If not an opening under the bed with access to the storage area. In case the door lock screw up. Like I had the case. Don’t know what your talking about the outdoor shower. It’s on the back of the trailer and would seem more convenient than by the outdoor burners for rinsing stuff.

Pam Smith
9 months ago

Interesting model. Are the measurements for the rear storage area (under the bunk) available? Would a 12 ft. kayak fit, even if it extends beyond the bunk area? Thank you!

Les
9 months ago
Reply to  Pam Smith

Check out Oru foldable kayaks.

RV Review: 2022 Coachmen Apex Ultra-Lite 256BHS; magical storageCoachmen's Apex Ultra Lite 256BHS offers what you might expect in this floor plan, which is a common floor plan, but then delivers more including some nifty under-bed cabinets and a storage area in the back with a half-height door to access the space.