Today’s review is of the Lance 1995 Travel Trailer, a smaller, towable couple’s camper whose MSRP, at $77,660, might seem higher than some. It is. By a good bunch.
So, you might dismiss these trailers and that would be a bummer, particularly if you are one of the people who questions the quality of what is being built in the RV industry. A lot of how things are done is a part of the issue. But Lance absolutely does things differently.
How Lance travel trailers are made
If you ever watch RVs being built and have seen more automated manufacturing processes, the RV could scare you. I know it sometimes does me. If you watch videos, or see in person, any modern vehicle being built, it is a synchronized dance of a lot of automated processes and a few people here and there.
RVs, on the other hand, are still almost completely handbuilt. I was recently talking to a manufacturer about their cabinetry and asking about custom orders, being concerned about a unique piece. This wasn’t an issue and I found out the cabinets are all completely handbuilt. No automation whatsoever.
This is not how a Lance is built. The team first designs things on a computer and then those files are sent to what is called a CNC (Computer Numerical Control) router. Essentially this device transfers that computer code into finished pieces that are precisely cut. Very precisely cut.
CNC routers cut the cabinets at Lance. They cut the walls of the trailers. It’s very precise.
The walls of the trailers are put together with an aluminum extrusion so you don’t see what’s called insert molding covering the screws. Insert molding fails in a few years and it’s your job to replace it. Yeah, yeah. It’s cheap to do, but it’s also a royal pain in the posterior to do it.
Electrical wiring at Lance is consistent
Like a car company, the electrical wiring at Lance is done on a pattern, so that’s consistent as well. A lot of RV companies simply have spools on the line and the workers pull what they need. Today that might be green wire, tomorrow blue with a yellow stripe. Have an electrical issue? First you have to spend time figuring out which wire does what.
Another quality feature on a Lance are the windows. We have seen these windows in a number of rigs but know that they’re pricey. The windows in a Lance are dual-pane Lexan models that have integrated shades and screens, both of which can retract fully. Further, the windows can flip up for a lot of air flow. Even the windshield in a Lance is one of these dual-pane Lexan windows and, yes, it can also flip up to 90°. Neat.
On the subject of that windshield, this might be the only RV where a windshield on a model with a Murphy bed makes any sense whatsoever. The way Lance has done the Murphy bed is to have the mattress fold in half so you can still enjoy the windshield even when the bed is in day mode.
Like other Murphy models, this one features a couch, which happens to be of the jackknife variety. There are removable armrests on either side of this.
There are some things that Lance does that are also unusual, and one of those is the slide room that you have to step up into. The reason for this is, if you look at most Lance trailers, they aren’t as tall as most travel trailers. In order to accomplish a good interior ceiling height, the slide has to dodge the wheels; hence, the step up.
But also know that a lower overall height could also mean a bit less wind resistance. Vehicle size is a significant factor in how much power (that means fuel!) it takes to overcome wind resistance. Car companies measure this in fractions of an inch. RV companies tend not to care.
Another unusual thing is that the microwave in this model is in a cabinet. You don’t see it when it’s not in use, but there it is when you flip the door up. Further, those cabinets have pin switches so when you do flip the door up, a light comes on. Nice touch.
The battery, or batteries, on this trailer are mounted inside the trailer under the jackknife sofa. There is a provision for a vent, but this makes a lot of sense if you upgrade to lithium batteries. They are expensive as heck and easy to steal. Having them inside solves the stealing problem, and also keeps them warmer in the winter, another plus.
This leaves the tongue able to hold three propane tanks instead of the usual two. The third tank serves as a backup and isn’t plumbed into the system.
The kitchen in the Lance 1995
There are a number of details worth noting in the kitchen. These include the fact that there is a metal surround, a sidesplash and backsplash, on both the side and back of the stove. You see backsplashes, but most RV companies miss the side. Not Lance.
Oh, and you know I have to make note of the fact that the oven is a real 22” oven.
But something unexpected indeed is the stonecast sink in the kitchen and also the bathroom. These are a nice touch, indeed.
Check your drawers
In the cabinet below this sink there is a cabinet door and three plastic trays instead of drawers. I like this because they’re removable and also washable. How many times have you seen these drawers get less than beautiful and thought, eww? These can be washed.
If you like real drawers, you might check out the ones at the base of the dinette. They are huge and mounted on heavy-duty drawer slides. Combining these drawers with drawers on the rear wall of the trailer, a cabinet and more, there’s actually quite a bit of storage in a camper of this size.
Since we’re talking drawers, there’s also a metal one outside in the front storage compartment. Since this compartment doesn’t extend completely across the camper, this makes sense.
The reason the compartment isn’t a full pass-through is that there is a compartment on the road side that is ventilated where you can store a generator that isn’t being used if you’d like. Or just stuff.
More build stuff
Some of the things I also like is that the enclosed underbelly on this trailer features the “Access-i-belly” design where the enclosing material is sectionalized. This allows you to remove one segment if there is an issue rather than having to peel back the entire underbelly.
There are also provisions for shock absorbers on this trailer if you want a more rugged suspension. But the standard fare is already a Road Armor wet bolt system, which is not a bad thing at all.
Boondocking and travel mode
Despite the depth of the slide room on this trailer, you can still fully utilize it with the slide room in, including the Murphy bed. Someone was paying attention.
Oh, yeah. Computer-aided design.
Tank sizes are decent and you can get an optional tankless water heater.
Is this a perfect RV? Heck no. None of them are. But there are so many areas where this is exceptional, to my eyes.
However, one where it’s not is the wimpy bathroom fan. They do include a high-performance fan in the main living area and that may be enough, but seeing this fan just seems so out of place.
Also, these are lower to the ground than some travel trailers. So, depending on your camping style, you might want to keep an eye on the underside of this trailer, particularly the sewer connection at the back.
These aren’t cheap, but the people who have them seem to really like them. Plus, I see a lot of Lance trailers that are older that still look to be in great shape. Further, the voices I hear on social media seem to reflect that these are better built than most trailers.
Further, I know the solid steps are all the rage, but I hate them. Not just dislike. Hate. The reasons include the fact that they bring dirt into the RV when stowed, require a bunch of fiddling when you deploy them, you can’t get in when they’re stowed for a quick bathroom break, and they require a bunch of space to swing open.
So, the fact that this trailer features folding steps that fold under the camper is a huge plus, to me. But these do have feet you can deploy so they do perform every bit as well as the stupid solid steps without the disadvantages inherent in those.
Companies like Lance and Airstream still have to buy components from an ever-decreasing number of suppliers to the RV industry. Fewer competitors is never a good recipe for success for either quality or pricing.
To me, solid steps and windshields in travel trailers are prime examples of the RV industry decision-makers not ever trying out their products and making bad decisions as a result. The saving grace with the windshield here is that it’s a Lexan windshield and it does open. It is also usable in the daytime when you actually do want a windshield.
All things considered, though, this is an exceptional example of what can be done in the RV industry when someone actually cares enough to do things differently. The biggest challenge might be sitting across from the person in the finance office and wincing as you sign the paperwork.
But, then you’ll be living the Lance life.
More from Tony
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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 .
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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