Tuesday, July 5, 2022

MENU

RV Review: 2022 Coachmen Chaparral 373MBRB fifth wheel

Some flavors are pretty universal. For example, if an ice cream store only sold vanilla ice cream, they would likely stay in business. But if they only sold mushroom ice cream, then their days would very likely be numbered. 

But there are folks who like mushroom ice cream. No, seriously. Cowlick’s ice cream in Mendocino offers the flavor and, by gosh, people buy it. Perhaps for the novelty, perhaps because it’s just a flavor they like. Mendocino does have some pretty great mushrooms, after all. 

The same is true of RVs. We’ve looked at plenty of fifth wheels in the past that have the same layout. Let’s be honest. There’s a particular fifth wheel floor plan that every single maker of fifth wheels offers. It has the bedroom up front, kitchen in the middle and couch along the back, as well as theater seats on one side and the TV and fireplace on the other. 

Vanilla ice cream, indeed. 

But the 2022 Coachmen Chaparral 373MBRB is like that mushroom ice cream flavor. It’s really different and there are people who are going to see this and swoon. Not everybody, of course. But some.

Who is the Chaparral 373MBRB for?

This floor plan offers three distinct bedrooms, each with their own door, along with a common living area. So I can see this appealing to campers who might camp with their children and also the grandparents. The grandparents get the bedroom in back, the kids get the bedroom in the middle, and mom and dad sleep upstairs because they bought the RV with a loan from the grandparents. 

But I can also see removing the bunks in the middle and making that an office. Or using the back bedroom as a classroom or office with no modification other than some TV trays. 

What the Chaparral 373MBRB is

This is a big, big fifth wheel with five slides, three bedrooms and two full bathrooms that is intended more for probably long-term camping. When I first saw this I thought of several families I know of who live full time on the road who would be very well-served by this fifth wheel. But it also absolutely has some challenges in the way it all plays out. 

Yin and Yang

Those features that come with challenges include the kitchen. It incorporates a big RV-style fridge—your choice of either gas-electric or 12-volt DC compressor. There is a three-burner stove with a nice 22” oven and a convection microwave. So you could actually feed the eight people that can have a place to sleep in here. 

I also like the peninsula in the kitchen with the sink. There are drawers inside the cabinets below the counter that could accommodate taller items. This is a good use of this space. 

But, because there are so many beds in this space, cabinet space is a bit limited. So pantry storage is a bit of a challenge. It’s not teardrop trailer tiny, but it’s not as big as I’ve seen in some fifth wheels. However, I can’t imagine where pantry space would come from, quite honestly.



 Gigantic TV in the Chaparral 373MBRB—overkill

There is a gigantic TV that comes with this rig. However, the only seating that can watch this are the theater seats directly opposite the TV. The dining table can get some TV action, sorta. And I guess the TV is so big you might be able to see a corner from the couch in the back bedroom. But, really, it’s overkill. 

That TV is on the inside wall of the outdoor kitchen. That’s the one change I would make to this. With all the sleeping space in this rig, I would think that making the space consumed by the outdoor kitchen would better be used for a second couch inside this rig instead. But that’s just me. 

You could still facilitate an outdoor kitchen by having a rail in the side of the trailer onto which a griddle and table slide in. Then put an optional 12-volt cooler in the front storage compartment. This would provide all the functionality of the existing outdoor kitchen, but also add more interior seating space. 

And, for campers who want nothing to do with an outdoor kitchen, the space wouldn’t be wasted on those buyers. Plus, a 12-volt cooler could also keep that yummy mushroom ice cream frozen. 

Double stuff

The very back of this rig is interesting in that there’s a full bathroom back there—complete with toilet, shower and sink. Across from that, in a slide, is a trifold couch with a flip-up bunk above it. So this amounts to a full private bathroom and bedroom for those grandparents whose money is really what bought this rig in the first place. 

But with the couch it could also be a go-to place for work or a classroom or whatever. The whole back of the camper can be closed off with a sliding door, so it does offer privacy. 

Also, if you camp with another couple, this could be their space—complete with their own bathroom so you’re not sharing bathroom sounds with one another. Nifty. 

That bathroom also has a door to the outside, so you can easily get here from there. If suddenly the need arises, there’s a direct door to the bathroom and that would also serve you well in transit. Gotta make a road-side pit stop and don’t want to get on Megan’s list? The answer, my friend, is right there. 



Stuck in the middle with you

There is an interesting middle bedroom that has its own slide box. That’s where the two 48” X 64” beds are. This is something I can only see the youngest travelers appreciating because it’s a bit of a cave. Some more mature travelers might have challenges crawling into there, but younger ones would likely delight at the opportunity. 

Plus, this is just an oddly sized room, but one that would work out for the kids. 

Observations on the Chaparral 373MBRB

There are a number of things that made me say “hmm” on this floor plan. Principal among them is closet and drawer storage. Considering how many campers can occupy this space, there is a big lack of anywhere to put their stuff.

The only hanging space is upstairs in the bedroom. That does feature a wardrobe slide, so there’s that. There is also a closet at the front wall of the bedroom. That’s good, but you can take up this space by utilizing the provisions for a washer and dryer.



Great storage under the bed in upper bedroom

Coachmen followed their usual practice of a great under-bed storage arrangement beneath the queen-sized bed in the upper bedroom. I really, really like this setup as it just makes the most of this space by my eyes. But, again, mushroom ice cream. Might not work for you.

Coachmen tests these rigs from 0°-100° F and certifies that they’ll be fine within that temperature range. That surprises me a bit as there is a large tank drain pipe exposed under the rig. Further, the pipe at the rear of this trailer really does seem rather low, considering its place behind the axle of such a long rig.

Coachmen does put a high-performance vent fan in the kitchen. But both bathrooms have the worthless mini fans in them. I would imagine those are places you’d want to have better fan performance. You know.

In summary

There is a lot that I like about this rig for the right style of camper. The unusual floor plan makes me happy just because it’s not what I am always seeing. But more than that, I can see this serving some families or even traveling professionals well. 

If it were me, I’d dump the outside kitchen altogether and use that space for inside seating instead. But, perhaps, a lot of campers like the outside kitchen. 

Other things to really like about this rig include that the walls are built with Azdel inside and out as the substrate for the laminate as opposed to Luan. There are also no floor ducts for the heater. This seems especially important in an RV designed to serve families. 

What’s your take on the Chaparral 373MBRB?

What’s your take on this? Could you see this serving you well? Or do you know some campers whom this might serve well? 

And would you try mushroom ice cream? I have, by the way, and it’s certainly different. I’m not sure what feet taste like, but that’s my take on it. I did like it, sort of, but I’m not sure if I would order it again. 

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.

If you’re RV shopping here are some tips on RV shopping from a former RV salesperson—me!

Tony comes to RVtravel.com having worked at an RV dealership and been a lifelong 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 an RV podcast with his wife, Peggy. 

These RV reviews are written based on information provided by the manufacturers along with our writer’s own research. They are based on information from a single unit and may not reflect your actual experience. Shop your RV and dealership carefully before making a buying decision. 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!

##RVDT1881

Comments

Subscribe
Notify of

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

5 Comments
Newest
Oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Galeyn
21 days ago

48 gallons of fresh water for 8 people. I’m thinking that’s not going to last very long. Just sayin’.

Spike
22 days ago

As mentioned in the review, way too little family sit down space in front of the TV for a rig that is, at least in theory, built to house a lot of people. No way those dining table seats can serve that function. So two useable seats in the living room for a bunch of people to fight over.

Put the mushroom back in the cave. 😉

Steve
22 days ago

Grandma and Grandpa definitely need the second bathroom closer than the kids do! I would leave the back bedroom intact, rip out the beds in the middle one, and add a desk/table and more cabinets to that room. Then you can sleep a family of 3 in the back and still have a room with storage and a door for an office/craft room.

Bob M
22 days ago

To big and to many slides. I’d assume the small water tank is because you’d have this unit in a private RV park with city water hookup. I my self like outdoor kitchens. I love mushrooms, but wouldn’t try mushroom ice-cream.

Tommy Molnar
22 days ago

Love the comment about mom and dad sleeping where they do because they got the loan to buy the trailer from the grandparents. Classic! But you’re right about lack of storage in this trailer. Just like the lack of fresh water in a trailer that’s aimed to house more than two people. Since I’m not fan of outdoor kitchens anyway, your comment on using that space for inside seating fits my view too. That double bunk slideout is just silly to my way of thinking. So many slides, so little storage. So much extra weight, so much more to go wrong.

Sign up for our newsletter

Every Saturday and Sunday morning. Serving RVers for more than 20 years.