Tuesday, October 26, 2021

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RV Review: 2022 Rockwood Mini Lite 2104S

We at RV Travel have posted quite a few articles about how the RV dealers and industry insiders are getting frustrated with the quality of product coming out of the RV industry of late. Furthermore, every time I post an article about any specific sub-brand of Thor or Forest River, there are almost inevitably comments about how that company makes junk based on the writer’s experience. 

But I don’t think that tells the story properly. I’ve written before how very much autonomy the various brands at these companies have. In the example with Thor, you have to consider that they have been building Airstreams since 1981. And I think the same equivalency applies with Forest River and Rockwood/Flagstaff. 

Having toured the Rockwood plant and watched not only how these are built but how the team quality checks these trailers, I would have zero issues buying one today. In fact, my wife and I are planning to. But not the model we’re looking at today, which is the Rockwood Mini Lite 2104S. 

The Mini Lite 2104S and identical Flagstaff Micro Lite 21DS are the smallest in the Mini Lite/Micro Lite line at just 22’ 4” overall. If you want something smaller you’ll have to go into the Geo Pro/ePro line.

This little trailer is really an example of outstanding packaging in that you get a couch with flip-up foot rests and a large U-shaped dinette with portable table. The kitchen features an “L”-shaped countertop with a large double-bowl sink and even a three-burner stove with 22” oven. 

The magic is thanks to the Murphy bed

How does this magic work? A Murphy bed. 

I bet I just lost some of you. But Murphy beds are implemented in so many different ways in so many different RVs. I stand by the fact that Rockwood/Flagstaff has the best implementation of the Murphy bed in the business, period. 

This bed is a single platform that pivots about 2/3 of the way up the platform so that the queen-sized bed doesn’t fold or do any other magic tricks. It’s just a proper bed on a platform. 

That’s another thing Rockwood/Flagstaff do. The bed platform, dinette structure and many of the other structures in the trailer are welded aluminum. This helps both with weight and strength/durability. 

We’ve had this Murphy bed design in our existing 2017 trailer and it’s a terrific system. What makes this, and almost any RV bed, more usable is the RV SuperBag. Not cheap, but we’ve had ours five years and it’s as good as it was on day one. Buy the best and cry only once. 

Solar

More and more RVs are doing more and more with solar. Rockwood also has a decent solar package which consists of a 190-watt solar panel along with a 1,000-watt inverter. You can also add a second panel or employ a portable solar panel to augment this system. This package is part of an upgrade that also includes a 12-volt DC compressor refrigerator. 

Being off the grid is something we do a lot with our present trailer. This is another area these trailers shine – with a 52-gallon fresh water capacity. What brings us in from out in the wild is when our gray water tank fills up – that capacity is still 30 gallons. But one thing this trailer has is a SHOWERMISER, which allows you to divert water back into your fresh water tank while waiting for the water to get hot at the shower. 

Devil in the details

This is the kind of attention to detail that is what I appreciate about these Rockwood/Flagstaff products. They also come with high-performance vent fans in the bathroom with a cover so you can use the fan even in inclement weather. 

They also have heated underbellies with 12-volt heating pads on the tanks as standard.

The standard tires are Goodyear Endurance, but there’s also a tire pressure monitoring system, again standard. Those tires ride on a torsion axle suspension. The windows are all frameless, requiring less maintenance.

Rockwood/Flagstaff do their own lamination

Rockwood/Flagstaff also do their own lamination of the walls, which feature Azdel substrates. The walls are laminated in batches of just two; some other companies laminate their walls in much larger batches. 

Furthermore, not only are the side walls vacuum laminated, but so are all the exterior walls. That includes the roof/ceiling, which is an aluminum ribbed structure with custom foam insulation. 

I also like that the controls on these feature both mechanical, traditional switches – but you can also use your app to control the camper. Something for everybody. 

Is it perfect?

There is no such thing as the perfect RV, period. First of all, all RV companies have to rely on outside suppliers for many of their parts. But I can attest to the fact that our own Rockwood, a 2017 with probably 40,000 miles on it, has held up very well. I am particularly happy with the cabinetry, which is done in the company’s own shop. It’s every bit as solid as it was the day we got it. 

Some things in the Mini Lite that might not work for some

In this model there are a few things that might not work out for some people, depending on your camping style. 

There is a slide room with the dinette and a large pantry in it. But when the slide room is closed you can’t put the Murphy bed down. So if your camping style is mid-trip moochdocking, this may not work for you. 

Further, you can’t get to the kitchen, the refrigerator or bathroom with the slide room closed. My wife and I typically use filling, station stops to also take advantage of the restroom and refrigerator we’re towing and we just couldn’t do that here. 

Lastly, I don’t see the point of having a windshield when there’s a Murphy bed. When I’m sleeping I want it dark. When it’s daytime, and the bed is up, I want windows but the bed is blocking it. 

I’m most familiar with the Rockwood/Flagstaff RVs

Of all the brands of RVs out there,  I am most familiar with the people and processes and products of Rockwood/Flagstaff. That’s after having been to the factory and also running a Facebook group for the Mini Lite/Micro Lite lines that stemmed from my own desire to share info and get answers from other owners. 

Are there issues with the RV industry? You betcha! But has Rockwood/Flagstaff been able to maintain and even improve despite these challenges? Based on my experience and that of the Facebook group of some 8,800 people, I would say they have. 

So, while there are a lot of RVs I look at here, this is one I would have no reservations about suggesting if the floor plan fits your camping style. And, honestly, if the idea of a Murphy bed is holding you back, it really shouldn’t. In fact, Josh Winters addresses this in his video.

Tony comes to RVtravel.com 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

Build quality
Usable features
Interior space vs. exterior size
Windshield

SUMMARY

In this review we look at one of the neatest little travel trailers that has a very usable interior but is small on the outside thanks to a very clever design.

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Roger Spalding
20 days ago

Perhaps it’s optical, but this Minilite appears well planted on the road for towing; I see too many TTs that seem unbalanced or top heavy. I am giving Rockwood/Flagstaff a second look as I consider my next purchase. This is purely due to Tony’s high praise and influence for their products.

Tommy Molnar
20 days ago

I like the water miser addition, and I wish MY trailer had the U-shaped dinette. The 12v underbelly heaters is a nice addition, but the 12v compressor fridge scares me. You’d better have a decent battery set up if you plan on boondocking.

Chuck
20 days ago

Are those UVW and GVW numbers correct?? If they are, you can’t pack hardly anything in this camper…there’s only a 186 lb. difference. That can’t be right, can it? Or do I just not understand those numbers correctly? Maybe a typo?

Snayte
20 days ago
Reply to  Chuck

I cannot seem to find a GVWR in several google searches. It is not even on Forest River’s site, how do they expect people to by trailers without that basic info? But they do list a CCC of 1,864 there. Given that added to the UVW I would guess is has 3500 LB axles so a GVW of somewhere in the 7500 LB area..

Bob M
20 days ago

I don’t like the fold down dining table. I feel folding and unfolding it is dangerous. The little yellow dot on the leg coming down gives it away. I’m lucky I haven’t hurt my self folding and unfold mine. Will never buy another RV that has that table.