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.
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.
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