Sunday, October 2, 2022

MENU

RV Review: 2022 Coachmen Freedom Express Ultra Lite 294BHDS

Today we’re looking at the Coachmen Freedom Express Ultra Lite 294BHDS, a larger bunk model with some really nifty features. In fact, the more I look at these Coachmen travel trailers, the more I like them for a number of reasons. 

What’s to love

I think one of the best things about these trailers is the way they’ve arranged the under-bed storage. Rather than just a single open chest-type space, Coachmen builds a set of cabinets under the bed that hold drawers and have space beneath them for shoes. 

One of the more positive touches here is that the drawers open outward from the bed. That means you can access the drawers without lifting the bed. But if you do lift the bed, which is on hydraulic struts, you’ll see that there’s a big open space between the cabinets. This could be for dirty laundry, a pet bed, or just more storage using totes. 

Coachmen does a good job with storage in the bedroom

I think Coachmen is one of the only companies that actually looks at this space creatively—and they do a good job of it. Further, that bed that lifts up is a true 60 X 80 queen. 

This also hits a few more marks that I look at regularly. Those include having no floor registers for the furnace, particularly in a bunk model. That means no smell of roasting Skittles as the weather gets colder and you kick the furnace on for the first time in the camping season. 

The slide room also doesn’t have carpeting. In fact, the flooring is the same wood-look vinyl flooring as in the rest of the trailer. Nice. 

Coachmen didn’t stop with the storage under the bed. There’s also a TV and some storage on the wall in the main living area. That’s opposite your choice of either theater seats or a tri-fold sofa. But it’s magic. The whole wall opens up and there’s much more storage behind that. 

While they’re not the only ones to offer storage under the dinette, Coachmen does have sliding doors in the large U-shaped dinette that make it easier to get to what you’ve put under there. Further, the table is free-standing. That means you can just move it out of the way and that U-shaped dinette now becomes a lounge. It’s a larger dinette, too, so it could be a good lounge. 

Floor plan in the Freedom Express Ultra Lite

We’ve already had the discussion where I know some of you do not like a bath that splits a floor plan in half, and I’ve shared that I really do like this arrangement. This one has this feature—so you can go to your respective corners on this, put on gloves and duke it out as you see fit. 

The bunks in this unit are a double-over-double. So you could actually have enough space to legitimately fit those grandchildren back there if you wanted, even as they grow up. 

Observations

While I’ve been a big advocate of how Keystone has done their solar with their SolarFlex™, I also recognize that Coachmen essentially only puts a solar connector on the roof. I think this is good, too. Why? 

Not everybody needs or wants solar. While it makes sense for the way I camp, it may not make sense for all campers. Seasonals, for example, may have full hook-ups all year long. They may not want to pay for solar. 

But if you do want to put in solar, having the wiring in place does make the job much easier. Also, you can put in the components that make the most sense to you. Coachmen offers solar upgrades, as well. 

Better towing with spread axles on the Freedom Express Ultra Lite

When I was working at the dealership, the delivery drivers who brought our units in told me how much they appreciated the spread axles on rigs like this. Essentially, the wheels are further apart—which purportedly makes for better towing. However, if you tow in places with tight turns it’s a bit tougher on the tires. But it’s not something they weren’t designed to handle. Oh, and Coachmen includes a tire pressure monitoring system, as well. 

I had mentioned the shoe garage under the bed. There’s also one by the door, and there’s a good amount of cabinet space in the kitchen, which includes a peninsula design. 

There’s a counter extension on this but, like most of these, it doesn’t sit flush with the countertop—even though I know this is possible to do. 

As long as I’m complaining, here’s another bunk model with a puny oven and a worthless fart fan in the bathroom. Sheesh. 

Lastly, this rig features a keyed-alike system. That means the baggage doors don’t have the same 751 key as everybody else in the campground. Plus, you only have to carry one key. 

Boondocking and travel access

This rig might have good access to the entire kitchen even with the slide in, but you’ll have to remember to put the free-standing table somewhere other than in the dinette before you bring the slide in. In that case, you can shimmy around it and get to the storage and the fridge. 

You won’t be able to get to the back bunk room, but everything else is fair game. 

Outside kitchen on the Freedom Express Ultra Lite

I do want to mention the outside kitchen. While I think a lot of these are just a silly waste of space, this one is well thought through. There’s a plumbed sink on a drawer and a bar-sized fridge, which is pretty normal.

But Coachmen also has a U-shaped drawer here that is built around the sink. This is pretty cool. Further, they include a plastic folding table that you can use here and have a provision to store it in a slot sort of above the cargo in the front cargo compartment.

Further, there’s a rail on the side of the camper wherein you can slot an outdoor griddle and another small table. My own trailer had this and I really liked the arrangement and used it quite frequently.

In summary

Aside from my usual gripes about many, many brands of trailer, there’s quite a bit to like about this model. Oh, and on the subject of that poor, dead horse that I keep beating, I might as well add that this features two sewer connections to the list. However, at least the main one, which is under the slide room, isn’t difficult to access as it’s on the front edge of the slide. 

But to end on a positive note, this also uses Azdel substrate in the construction on both interior and exterior wall surfaces, so that’s a plus. There’s a lot to like here in a larger bunk model. 

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.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 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!

##RVDT1830

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
Steve
6 months ago

Just a question for RV designers to ponder: where do you buy sheets and blankets to fit not only a non-standard bed size (50″ x74″), but also one that has a 2′ x 3′ chunk sawed off one corner? Is every RVer expected to have a seamstress available to somehow modify a standard 54″ x 72″ double bed contour sheet to fit it? Making RV beds is a pain even when they are rectangular. But between the walls enclosing these bunks and their weird size and shape, most parents probably just throw a sleeping bag on each bed and wish their kids “good night!”

Gordy B
6 months ago

I like the layout with a couple changes, the overall setup is OK, but I would like to eliminate the door and slide the whole kitchen over to the bathroom wall. Then put in two doors, one in the bedroom and the other at the rear of the kitchen. I like doors near the sleeping areas (in case of fire) providing two exits. The other thing is I don’t like slides! Eliminate that and this unit would be perfect in my eyes. I can install a corner shelf for my C-pap myself. A few minor adjustments in the bath and the door would fix the wall to the living area. Oh, and Tony can still have the shoe storage on the right of the rear door. A nice long awning would top it off. Happy Trails

Snayte
6 months ago

The reason for two dump connections is usually because the bathroom and kitchen are too far apart for gravity to move the waste to the tank on such a shallow run. Though that does not seem to be the case here. I have a mid bath rear kitchen model and that simply requires two tanks. But I like it since we can go almost a week with the two of us taking showers with out filling the bathroom only gray tank. We could go even longer if I rigged up some sort of transfer pump since the galley gray tank never gets even close to full.

Bob M
6 months ago

Looks like the entry steps need one more additional step. Unsafe the way it looks. Would also want a fireplace.

Tommy Molnar
6 months ago
Reply to  Bob M

Yup, steps look awkward with no easy access to the grab handler until you get at least one step up. Not a fan of that kind of steps anyway.
I don’t know that I’d even call these useless bathroom fans “fart fans”, because that insinuates that it’s useful for at least one thing. It’s not. Maybe it’s good for covering up embarrassing noises but even that is a stretch.

Sign up for the RVtravel Newsletter

Your information will *never* be shared or sold to a 3rd party.

Subscribe to our newsletter

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