There’s nothing like knowing something but you can’t really share it and sitting on the information. I’ve had a few of these details and today I get to share with you the 2022 Keystone Cougar 30BHS Travel Trailer. I love when someone does a floor plan that seems to break new ground. This one certainly does in some ways.
I was mulling over the Winnebago EKKO recently and wondering why I hadn’t seen a travel trailer with a raised back and storage underneath – and this one is just that. I want to be very clear that you should always load a travel trailer so that there’s about 15% of the total weight on the tongue. Not doing so can result in horribly dangerous handling.
So when you’re loading this trailer, be cognizant of the weight. Just because there’s terrific storage at the back doesn’t mean it’s a good idea to overload that.
I wouldn’t tow the Keystone Cougar 30BHS with a half-ton truck
And, on the subject of towing, Keystone refers to this as a “half-ton” model. There is no way I would tow this with anything less than a well-equipped three-quarter-ton truck. This is a large trailer that has a gross weight of almost 10,000 pounds. If you assume about 15 percent of that is on the tongue of the trailer, that’s 1,500 pounds. Many half-ton trucks have a cargo carrying capacity right about there. So that means no additional capacity for things like passengers. Or even the driver. These are critical numbers to know before you tow.
Unique details in the Keystone Cougar 30BHS
As mentioned, what’s really groundbreaking is at the back of this trailer. That’s where there is a raised floor that features two double bunks. The lower bunk has a section that swings upward revealing a really large storage compartment.
That storage compartment has a half-height door to the outside. I can easily see this as a great place to load in bicycles or other taller cargo. It’s pretty terrific. But wait, there’s more.
At the back of the trailer is a swing-down spare tire carrier which, when swung down, reveals another access door. This opens up to another “wing” on the space below the bunks. It would be a great place to store those things we all bring camping like chairs and such.
This could leave the front pass-through cargo compartment available for heavier items like tools and that sort of thing. This is a travel trailer that almost comes close to some fifth wheels in storage.
Inside the “L”-shaped dinette that backs up to those double bunks is an ottoman that is chair height. (The one in the picture is from the preproduction model and is not what will ship with production trailers.) That offers storage and brings the dining table’s seating capacity up to match the number of beds in the trailer.
I applaud Keystone for the larger oven
The floor plan tells a lot of the rest of the story. But I want to stand and applaud Keystone for putting a 22” oven in this trailer. Almost every other bunk model I see has the smaller oven – which seems ridiculous considering that these are meant for a larger number of campers. Good on you, Keystone!
You also have a choice between a gas-electric or 12-volt compressor-based refrigerator.
One of the hallmarks of the Cougar brand is that a 70 X 80 king-sized bed is fitted to these models. It does make space between the wall and bed tight, but also gives you more sleeping space.
Mid-bath in the Keystone Cougar 30BHS
Another thing I like about this floor plan is that the mid-bath gives you two doors between the bedroom and the main living area. If the people in the bunks have a different sleep pattern to the ones in the bedroom, these two doors will make for a good situation.
This happens to be a 50-amp trailer, which means you can outfit it with two air conditioning units if you’d like. Well, and if there are enough in stock at the moment to do so, what with all the parts shortages these days.
That brings up some of the things that Keystone’s Innovation Labs has been up to.
Keystone Innovation Lab
I’ve written before how Keystone has been working on solving problems that might be otherwise common in the RV industry through their Keystone Innovation Lab. One of those components is their Blade™ air flow system. This incorporates metal duct work that features hard plastic joiners that eliminate the ducts collapsing over time.
The air vents to the camper are also more efficient, allowing an existing AC unit to create greater air flow. The system is also quieter.
This trailer also features the all-man-made HyperDeck™ flooring. This laminate product is reported to have comparable screw retention to wood. It is also completely water-damage resistant, making it superior to wood, according to Keystone.
This trailer, like all 2022 Keystone products, will come with at least 265 watts of solar in the company’s SolarFlex system. There are options to upgrade to a second panel and further upgrades available with various sizes of inverters and quite substantial solar packages.
iN-Command system to monitor trailer from smartphone and maybe your truck
There is also an iN-Command® system that’s compatible not only with smartphones, but also with some GMC and Chevrolet trucks’ control systems. This means you can monitor and control the trailer not only from your smartphone but also from your truck if you have a compatible model.
I also like that there is a provision for both rear- and side-view cameras in this trailer.
But what might be really important to some RVers is the fact that Keystone’s three-year structural and one-year comprehensive warranty also covers the use of this trailer for full-time RVing.
This floor plan is a truly realistic approach to a bunk model. There’s enough cargo storage and cargo carrying capacity that you could reasonably bring along the kids’ bikes or other goodies. The outdoor kitchen on this features a flat-top griddle, which I have and like quite a bit.
I hope other RV companies adopt this raised back end much like a few have done with smaller motorhomes. It makes a lot of sense.
The Keystone Cougar 30BHS has Goodyear Endurance tires and a TPMS
With all of the complaints about travel trailer tires, Keystone has been listening to this, as well. They make Goodyear Endurance travel trailer tires with a tire pressure monitoring system available on the Cougar line. I couldn’t be more emphatic in my recommendation to choose this option.
Lack of tire maintenance in the form of neglecting to check air pressure is a significant cause of failure in all vehicles, but seems to be prevalent in trailers especially. In fact, you likely have a tire pressure monitoring system in your RV because studies showed just how significant underinflation of tires is from a nationwide standpoint.
Also, if you are partial to a trailer with an automatic leveling system, that’s another reason to consider this one. Keystone’s Cougar line almost universally has this feature installed.
I really wish they wouldn’t advertise the Keystone Cougar 30BHS as “half-ton”
As much as the flooring is all man-made and waterproof, Keystone is still using Luan in the wall construction. I’ve been told by some manufacturers that it’s difficult to use Azdel in the wall construction on larger RVs, and I have no data to argue this fact. However, I would like to see a much more robust suspension on a trailer of this size and I really, really, really wish they wouldn’t advertise this as “half-ton.”
Sure, there are trucks advertised with the capability to tow this but, when you really do the numbers, I can’t imagine any half-ton truck that I would feel comfortable using to tow this large of a trailer. I know a lot of folks do it – but doctors used to recommend smoking and that turned out to be a bad idea also.
My thanks to Josh Winters from Haylett RV in Coldwater, Michigan, for use of his photos.
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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