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RV Review: Updates to the 2022 Keystone Cougar 355FBS

We have looked at the Keystone Cougar 355FBS a while back and while I continually try to find new rigs to share with you, sometimes a company will make enough changes that it’s worth revisiting something. 

One of the things I think is interesting is that, despite the fact that the RV industry can sell anything they make, there are companies that are working to raise the bar. One of those is Keystone, who has announced a lot of things that reflect how we’re currently camping or planning to. 

SolarFlex

I’ve written about this change in the past but it just continues to impress me. For 2022, all Keystone products come standard with at least 200 watts of solar on the roof. Furthermore, even at the base level they’re wired to have an inverter power specific outlets in the rig if that’s something that you need. 

One of the things the RV industry has recognized is that campgrounds are full and many, many of us just would rather not spend $70 a night for a spot that is so cramped you have to be careful opening your awning lest you hit your neighbor. 

For anyone who only uses developed campgrounds, solar probably doesn’t matter at all, other than potentially maintaining the RV’s batteries when it’s not in use. But for those who camp off the grid at all, solar can be a huge game changer. 

You may only need to come in from camping to dump the tanks

With today’s improved lithium and AGM batteries and the power of the sun, the only reason you might have to come in from camping is to dump your tanks. It’s totally conceivable to have a camper that never needs to plug in. In fact, Mike Sokol, the RV electricity expert, is testing a travel trailer right now that can run the AC from its built-in battery bank. 

The way Keystone implemented SolarFlex™ on this is not unlike some of the other newer Keystone products with the very minimum installed system sporting a 200-watt solar panel on the roof. Then they wired it up to easily accommodate a second panel without much effort at all. You could also install an inverter and batteries such that specific plugs in the rig can operate only from the battery and inverter system. 

Upgrades to the SolarFlex

If you truly do want more, Keystone’s next major upgrade is the SolarFlex 400i package. It has 400 watts of solar on the roof, a 2,000-watt inverter and a smart battery monitor system. For many of us, this package is sufficient to do most of what we do camping, with the exception of running the air conditioners. For that you’d still need shore power or a generator. 

In the event that you don’t want to have shore power or a generator at all, you could upgrade to the SolarFlex 600i-L package. That puts 600 watts of solar on the roof and has a Dragonfly® 270 amp-hour lithium battery system. This also includes a 3,000-watt hybrid inverter that can pull power from shore power and supplement battery power as needed. It’s a pretty smart system and will certainly get you off the grid. 

To put this in perspective, I have an 80-watt portable solar panel and a single 105 amp-hour AGM thin cell battery and camp off the grid quite a bit. This small system hasn’t been a hindrance to camping. So I can imagine what it would be like to have even Keystone’s 400i, let alone the 600i-L. But I do choose to camp where I use the rattle trap air conditioner on the roof as little as possible because, well, it’s noisy. 

Also new in the 2022 Keystone Cougar

A few other changes have become standard in the 2022 version of the Keystone Cougar. Those include the fact that Keystone reconfigured the bathroom with one sink instead of two. They made a very long counter instead. Apparently this along with the other changes to the floor plan were the direct result of your input to the company. 

The no-knee-knocker table is now standard on this model. So that means the dining table is mounted to the wall instead of on a pedestal of some sort. 

There is also standard prep for side cameras as well as a rear camera. That is nice in a trailer of this size. Heck, it’s a great feature in a trailer of any size. 

Looking back at the Keystone Cougar

In the past, one of my favorite features of this floor plan has been the huge closet in the nose of this rig. I had mentioned before how I thought this would be a great office. But, even more, with many of us editing photos and videos, using an office with no windows makes a tremendous amount of sense. One of the difficulties of color-correcting some photos is the light wash in from the windows. Having an office with no windows solves that entirely. The one challenge, of course, is that this is meant as a big closet. That means it doesn’t have heat or air conditioning ducts. Also you have to walk through the bathroom to get to work. But I can think of worse places to work and worse ways to get there. 

In summary

I’m not sure how emphatic I was last time we looked at this rig about how much I give credit to any company that implements a good suspension. This fifth wheel incorporates the Road Armor suspension system. 

The Keystone Cougar is warranted for full-time living

I also like that this is warranted for full-time living. In addition, it has been independently tested to be capable of maintaining a comfortable interior temperature when the outside temps range from 0°F-110°F. 

Keystone has also been working on technologies in their AC system with their own proprietary ducting and venting systems and more. 

Overall I like this floor plan more than I did last year. But, even more, I like seeing companies that continually improve their offerings even though they could sell them like ice to an overheated desert dweller if they did nothing. 

My thanks to Josh Winters from Haylett RV of Coldwater, Michigan, for these images. Josh also has a video 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.

Got an RV we need to look at? Contact us today and let us know in the form below – thank you!

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REVIEW OVERVIEW

Front space/second bathroom
Road Armor suspension
Solarflex system
Floor heater vents

SUMMARY

Keystone has updated the Cougar 355FBS based on customer input and the good is even better with this newly updated model.

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Bob M
2 months ago

I wish Grand Design didn’t discontinue the Reflection 287RLTD with the rear wraparound dinette. I’d probably buy one next year. Do’t like the 5th wheel version since you can’t use the bathroom with the slide in when traveling I also don’t like they use the Swinick slide RVers complain about.

Tommy Molnar
2 months ago

For a change, the fresh, grey, and black tank sizes make sense. And I agree with Roger about getting a queen bed instead of a king for the ability to have bedside space for ‘stuff’.

Roger Spalding
2 months ago
Reply to  Tommy Molnar

Thanks for the props, Tommy. I follow your comments which are insightful and interesting.

Roger Spalding
2 months ago

Only “real” shortcoming in this rig is the king sized bed; it eliminates all space for night stands. If a queen bed is an option, can night stands be added? Need room for my water glass and “stuff.”