Wednesday, December 7, 2022


RV Review: 2022 Flagstaff Classic 8529RKSB fifth wheel


Today’s review is of the 2022 Flagstaff Classic 8529RKSB fifth wheel. This is an unusual floor plan in fifth wheels that almost has three logical spaces to hang out. Further, this is one of the brands that has spoiled me and why I always complain about the same things in other brands. I know they don’t have to be the way most manufacturers do them. 

Have a seat

In terms of seating, considering that this isn’t an overly large floor plan, there are a number of places to gather depending on how many people you’re spending time with. 

At the entry door there is a couch against the front bulkhead in the living space that’s good for a couple of seats with theater seats at a right angle to those. This is the first gathering place in this trailer. 

Then there’s a larger U-shaped dinette in the camp-side slide room. I like this because it has a free-standing table so it could just be a U-shaped lounge or, obviously, a dinette. If the lounge/dinette is not for you, there is the option of freestanding chairs and table. 

Finally there’s a breakfast bar on the front of the kitchen. As someone who really likes to cook and entertain, I can imagine friends hanging there while food is getting prepped for a gathering. You could also move the stools and this would be a buffet serving spot. Plus, there’s an electrical outlet there so you could keep some things warm. 

The kitchen in the Flagstaff Classic 8529RKSB

I keep harping on things so many RV manufacturers do, but it’s because I’ve seen how useful the 22” oven can be as well as high-performance vent fans. Fortunately, Flagstaff is one of the brands that employs both of these features. 

The kitchen is at the back of this trailer with an L-shaped counter. There is a good amount of cabinetry here, including drawers and other storage. The refrigerator in this unit is a 10.7-cubic-foot model, and know that some fifth wheels do have larger refrigerators. Overall, I think it’s a good work space. 

Interestingly, one of the cabinets below the sink is also accessible from the outside of this fifth wheel. The idea behind this is that you can put your trash can in the cabinet and then get to it from outside to empty it, which makes sense. I suppose you could also use this as a pantry and be able to load it from the outside in the parking lot of the grocery store. 

What prompted me to get on the larger oven bandwagon was having that oven in our previous Rockwood Mini Lite 1905S, which was a small, single-axle trailer. We actually found that oven to be very useful. So when I started selling RVs and saw how small the 16” ovens were, it seemed to make a big difference. 

I figured if you could put the 22” oven in a trailer that small, there was no reason it shouldn’t really be the standard. Interestingly, even our 1970 Aristocrat has the 22” oven, as does our new 2022 Rockwood Mini Lite 2205S. 

Some things in the RV industry just don’t make any sense whatsoever. The 16” oven is at the top of that list. Give me a choice or just don’t put one in. But let’s all agree that the 16” oven is worthless except for burning cookies. 


The shower in this follows what you might expect in a fifth wheel in that it’s a larger unit and has a seat. One of the things that Flagstaff has been doing is putting in a Showermi$er system. That is a simple valve that allows you to divert water back to the fresh water tank while you’re waiting for the water to get hot at the shower head. 

I have this feature in my own trailer and can attest to the value when you’re boondocking. Essentially, it helps not waste water—which is more often what brings you back in from camping, what with the advances in battery and solar technology. 

But I’ve also used this feature to fill my fresh water tank when hooked to city water. Flagstaff includes a whole-house filtration system. I basically use my Clear20 portable water filter, whether filling up the tanks or hooked to city water. 

There is a 72” x 80” king-sized bed upstairs in a slide. You also have washer and dryer hook-ups and, depending on the unit you want to install, you can either hook up a combo unit and have more closet space or a separate unit. It’s ready for either. 

Boondocking and travel access in the Flagstaff Classic 8529RKSB

Fifth wheels with opposing slides are not ideal for mid-journey access, and this is no exception. You can forget the kitchen entirely mid-journey unless you open one of the slide rooms. 

Josh Winters, in the video attached here, did have an idea, though. The outdoor fridge in this is attached to an included 1,000-watt inverter, and you could leave that running while on your way. You could use the outdoor fridge for snacks and drinks, which would solve the inaccessibility of the one inside. 

In some ways this is comparable to how I use my Alpicool 12-volt cooler, which now lives in the back seat of my truck. 

Speaking of inverters and such, this does come with a 190-watt solar panel and the previously mentioned 1,000-watt inverter. I will caution you that if you do plan to camp off the grid you should at least have 100 amp-hours of battery available. In fact, you will not be disappointed with twice that amount, quite frankly. Those 12-volt fridges like electricity more than I had realized, especially when the outdoor temperature rises. 

Also, if boondocking is your thing, you might be happy that you chose the optional second 190-watt panel. 

Build features in Flagstaff products

I like a lot of the way Flagstaff products are built. They use the Dexter torsion axle suspension, the structures of things like beds and dinettes are welded aluminum, the roof is a laminated build and the walls are laminated by the company in their own plant in small batches. I’m also a fan of the frameless windows in these, although some folks like more traditional windows for air flow.

But Flagstaff also includes a high-performance ventilation fan so you can move a lot of air. This is how I tend to sleep at night—a window cracked open and the vent fan blowing air through the trailer. It works well.

This also comes with 12-volt tank heaters, which are pretty common. The tank heaters are thermostatically controlled so they only kick in when it gets cold enough to turn them on.

Another thing that’s nifty is that you can get air conditioners that are heat pumps. That means you can use park power to heat the trailer, within certain limitations. You could also combine the electric fireplace and potentially fully heat the rig, if it’s not horribly cold, completely on shore power.

In summary

Having looked at a lot of RVs and sold a lot of RVs, some people ask if I have any bias about these things. I do not. But looking at the stats and facts and what I know, I genuinely do think some brands just build a better product. In the fifth wheel world I would include Alliance, Cougar, Montana, Flagstaff and Rockwood as brands I could recommend without reservation. Not for reasons of bias, but for the things I can check off a checklist in terms of actual, usable qualitative features and build methods. 

On that subject, this is the same trailer as the Rockwood Signature 8291RK. 

This is an interesting floor plan that could very well serve those who like to entertain.

More from Tony

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 having worked at an RV dealership and been a lifelong RV enthusiast. He also has written the syndicated Curbside column about cars. He also works closely with a number of RV manufacturers to get an inside look at how things are done and is a brand ambassador for Rockwood Mini Lite with his wife, Peggy.

You can also check out his 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.

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Steve H
4 months ago

Some commenters will likely have reservations about a rear kitchen fridge “scrambing” its contents during trips due to the bouncing of the trailer tail. So, I’ll just give our experience with our Rockwood Mini Lite 2109S, which we towed for 27,000 miles including a trip to Alaska. The conventional RV propane/120v electric fridge was located on the rear wall next to the “coat closet” and door. It was fully accessible in a Walmart parking lot without opening the slide while making a grocery stop (as was the bathroom!).

However, during those stops and when arriving at our campsites, we never had any problem with upside-down food containers, spilled milk, or broken eggs. Of course, we always used those expandable refrigerator bars at the front of each shelf, but we used them in the Rockwood fifth wheel and current motorhome too, neither of which have a rear fridge. So, why didn’t we have a problem with the rear fridge? Dexter torsion axles instead of a leaf-spring suspension!

Steve H
4 months ago
Reply to  Tony Barthel

A lot of people don’t realize that leaf springs were used on wagons on the 19th century and just carried over to automobiles by early 20th century inventors. Now we not only have torsion axles, but also coil springs, hydraulic shock absorbers, self-leveling air bags, and fully independent, multi-link suspension systems in vehicles. Our Ram 2500 diesel even has rear coil springs instead of leaf springs, an industry first for a “heavy-duty” truck. But many RV manufacturers still cling to obsolete suspension technologies because they are the cheapest option and not something most RV buyers even consider!.