I’ve written about how much I appreciate smaller campers and, as my wife and I look at various smaller trailers, it’s interesting to see the different ways manufacturers put together essentially the same floor plan. For example, today we’re looking at the Coachmen Freedom Express Ultra Lite 192RBS and tomorrow we’ll look at how another Forest River division, Rockwood, handles almost the same floor plan in their Mini Lite 2109S.
The size of this trailer is a nice balance between maneuverability and interior space. It offers a relatively livable amount of interior space without requiring a huge vehicle to tow it. I always advocate that anyone do their own research using hard numbers to determine what is needed to tow a trailer. But the fact is that this lighter trailer is within the ability of some mid-size trucks and full-size SUVs to tow.
A downside of the Coachmen Freedom Express Ultra Lite 192RBS
The downside, of course, is that this is truly a couples’ camper. If you’re looking for something the family can come join you in, these are absolutely not the trailer for that. There is no privacy between sleeping quarters and the main living area. You should be aware of this going in, especially if the campers are on decidedly different sleep schedules.
What makes campers this size nice, also, is the fact that they have a real queen-sized bed. There’s also a small slide room so they can be easily used in travel mode. That means that you have access to every feature in this RV even with the slide room in. This makes sense if you want to stop and use the bathroom or get a cold drink or even take a nap along the journey.
I know a lot of people lump all Forest River or Thor or even Winnebago products into the same heap. But these large companies actually encourage their divisions to create individual products and processes and even utilize different build technologies and such.
So looking at the Coachmen product compared to the Rockwood, there are some very distinct differences. How much these matter to you and how differently the models are priced might carry different weight for different customers.
The Freedom Express Ultra Lite has the neatest under-bed storage
The first thing about the Coachmen is that it’s got the neatest under-bed storage I have seen in a little trailer. Essentially, there are two cabinets that contain drawers separated in the middle by an open space. That open space might be an ideal place to put a pet carrier if you have a pet that likes to sleep in one, for example.
But the bed, which is on struts, can be lifted up out of the way and the cabinets can be transformed into seats. Or you can simply sit on the cabinets.
This would be a great place to simply put on shoes. But you can also use the included folding table between these two cabinets and literally have a dining area. The one thing you wouldn’t get using this is a backrest, but it would certainly work.
Furthermore, there are drawers on the outside of each of these cabinets which you can open with the bed in place, as well. It’s really a great storage and seating solution … But wait, there’s more.
Space for shoes!
Under each of these cabinets is an open space which would work great for shoes. So many RVs don’t really have a space to put shoes, but that’s not true here.
In the shallow slide room of this trailer comes a couch which can jackknife into an uncomfortable bed if need be. So many RV companies buy from the same suppliers and I’ve sat on these sofas. Frankly, they’re not going to win any comfort awards. There is a fold-down armrest which has cup holders in it.
That same folding table that can be used between the cabinets under the bed can also be used for dining at this sofa.
One of the areas that shows how each brand can choose the components it wants is in the stove and oven. The Rockwood/Flagstaff models have the larger 22” oven; this one has the smaller 17” oven.
The Coachmen Freedom Express has an unusual cutlery drawer
But this one also has something that I really like: an unusual cutlery drawer that literally has a cut out in it to accommodate the sink. Opening the drawer it wraps around the sink making use of a space that might otherwise be wasted. Whoever thought of this I hope got a fat raise, because it’s a terrific idea.
Another thing that’s starting to become more common in the industry is the use of “keyed alike” baggage doors. Essentially, this means that all the locks on the exterior doors have the same key rather than the 751 key that is so very common.
One of the oddest things about this trailer is the non-ducted heat system. Essentially, there is just a single point where heat is exhausted into the body of this trailer. Now you know that if you’re camping in the winter and want to take a shower, you’re not going to have any heat ducted into the bathroom.
Outside on the Freedom Express
This rig also has a new style of door catches for the baggage doors that also feature a positive latch. So not only are there magnets to hold the doors up, but there’s also a latching mechanism so they don’t fall on your head.
Looking into that front baggage compartment, there is an LED light strip across the entire front of it, which is nice. Also there is a provision to hang the included table that goes outside. That means you’re not consuming all your space with the table but still have a spot to put it. Nice!
This trailer also uses an Azdel laminate substrate on both the inside and outside of the walls. The Azdel product is man-made and waterproof. It also has slightly better sound deadening properties than Luan. The water resistance and additional sound deadening make it a great material, and I’m seeing it used in more RVs.
However, some RV companies claim that it’s really only suited for smaller rigs. However, I’ve also seen it used in huge fifth wheels. This points to how little actual testing there is being done with vehicles in the RV space. Compare this to how many hundreds of thousands of miles are put on any production vehicle before you ever get to drive it.
I don’t like the leaf spring suspension in the Freedom Express Ultra Lite
I really, really like this floor plan and the way Coachmen implemented it. But what I don’t like is the very basic leaf spring suspension in this rig. There’s so much to like about this rig and that’s a bummer.
Honestly, if I did buy this trailer, and it is on the prospective list, I would immediately upgrade the bolts and shackles on the suspension to something with the ability to grease and also with greater absorption qualities. Here’s an article from MORryde detailing more about this type of upgrade. Naturally they’re biased about their own product. But there are also details that explain generalities and why an upgrade could make sense.
There’s a lot to like in this package and I would want to look at this rig in person before ultimately choosing between this and the similar Rockwood, frankly. On the plus side, that under-bed cabinetry and the silverware drawer is a real feather in the cap of this unit, to my eyes.
However, the leaf spring suspension and non-ducted heat are bummers.
And that’s one of the beauties of the RV space. My priorities may not be yours. So that’s part of why I appreciate your reading these and letting me detail out things that may matter to some, not to others.
My thanks to Josh Winters of Haylett RV in Coldwater, Michigan, for use of his photos. You can also watch Josh’s video review of this unit here.
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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